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Christopher Cowley [63]Christopher J. Cowley [1]
  1. A Defence of Conscientious Objection in Medicine: A Reply to Schuklenk and Savulescu.Christopher Cowley - 2016 - Bioethics 30 (4):358-364.
    In a recent Bioethics editorial, Udo Schuklenk argues against allowing Canadian doctors to conscientiously object to any new euthanasia procedures approved by Parliament. In this he follows Julian Savulescu's 2006 BMJ paper which argued for the removal of the conscientious objection clause in the 1967 UK Abortion Act. Both authors advance powerful arguments based on the need for uniformity of service and on analogies with reprehensible kinds of personal exemption. In this article I want to defend the practice of conscientious (...)
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  2.  75
    A New Rejection of Moral Expertise.Christopher Cowley - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (3):273-279.
    There seem to be two clearly-defined camps in the debate over the problem of moral expertise. On the one hand are the “Professionals”, who reject the possibility entirely, usually because of the intractable diversity of ethical beliefs. On the other hand are the “Ethicists”, who criticise the Professionals for merely stipulating science as the most appropriate paradigm for discussions of expertise. While the subject matter and methodology of good ethical thinking is certainly different from that of good clinical thinking, they (...)
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  3.  62
    Conscientious objection and healthcare in the UK: why tribunals are not the answer.Christopher Cowley - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (2):69-72.
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  4.  67
    Conscientious objection in healthcare and the duty to refer.Christopher Cowley - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (4):207-212.
    Although some healthcare professionals have the legal right to conscientiously object to authorise or perform certain lawful medical services, they have an associated duty to provide the patient with enough information to seek out another professional willing to authorise or provide the service (the ‘duty to refer’). Does the duty to refer morally undermine the professional's conscientious objection (CO)? I narrow my discussion to the National Health Service in Britain, and the case of a general practitioner (GP) being asked by (...)
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  5.  5
    A Defence of Conscientious Objection in Medicine: A Reply to Schuklenk and Savulescu.Christopher Cowley - 2015 - Bioethics 30 (5):358-364.
    ABSTRACT In a recent (2015) Bioethics editorial, Udo Schuklenk argues against allowing Canadian doctors to conscientiously object to any new euthanasia procedures approved by Parliament. In this he follows Julian Savulescu's 2006 BMJ paper which argued for the removal of the conscientious objection clause in the 1967 UK Abortion Act. Both authors advance powerful arguments based on the need for uniformity of service and on analogies with reprehensible kinds of personal exemption. In this article I want to defend the practice (...)
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  6. Expertise, wisdom and moral philosophers: A response to Gesang.Christopher Cowley - 2012 - Bioethics 26 (6):337-342.
    In a recent issue of Bioethics, Bernard Gesang asks whether a moral philosopher possesses greater moral expertise than a non-philosopher, and his answer is a qualified yes, based not so much on his infallible access to the truth, but on the quality of his theoretically-informed moral justifications. I reject Gesang's claim that there is such a thing as moral expertise, although the moral philosopher may well make a valid contribution to the ethics committee as a concerned and educated citizen. I (...)
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  7. Euthanasia in psychiatry can never be justified. A reply to Wijsbek.Christopher Cowley - 2013 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 34 (3):227-238.
    In a recent article, Henri Wijsbek discusses the 1991 Chabot “psychiatric euthanasia” case in the Netherlands, and argues that Chabot was justified in helping his patient to die. Dutch legislation at the time permitted physician assisted suicide when the patient’s condition is severe, hopeless, and unbearable. The Dutch Supreme Court agreed with Chabot that the patient met these criteria because of her justified depression, even though she was somatically healthy. Wijsbek argues that in this case, the patient’s integrity had been (...)
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  8.  36
    Commentary on ‘Treatment-resistant major depressive disorder and assisted dying’.Christopher Cowley - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):585-586.
  9. Suicide is neither rational nor irrational.Christopher Cowley - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (5):495 - 504.
    Richard Brandt, following Hume, famously argued that suicide could be rational. In this he was going against a common ‘absolutist’ view that suicide is irrational almost by definition. Arguments to the effect that suicide is morally permissible or prohibited tend to follow from one’s position on this first issue of rationality. I want to argue that the concept of rationality is not appropriately ascribed – or withheld – to the victim or the act or the desire to commit the act. (...)
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  10.  19
    Selective Conscientious Objection in Healthcare.Christopher Cowley - 2019 - The New Bioethics 25 (3):236-247.
    Most discussions of conscientious objection in healthcare assume that the objection is universal: a doctor objects to all abortions. I want to investigate selective objections, where a doctor objec...
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  11.  16
    Medical ethics, ordinary concepts, and ordinary lives.Christopher Cowley - 2008 - New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The big issues of medical ethics are more in the news than ever before. And yet they remain as stubborn and often as incendiary as ever. This book claims that in an effort to deal with the issues, mainstream philosophers have arbitrarily omitted many ethically relevant features in order to reduce the central problems to more tractable technical puzzles. The most gratuitous omissions have been the patient's point of view on the problem; the patient's ordinary life, which provides the wider (...)
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  12.  83
    Why Genuine Forgiveness must be Elective and Unconditional.Christopher Cowley - 2010 - Ethical Perspectives 17 (4):556.
    Charles Griswold’s 2007 book Forgiveness argues that genuine forgiveness of an unexcused, unjustified and unignored offence must be normgoverned and conditional. In the same way that gift-giving is governed by norms of appropriateness, so too is forgiveness; and the appropriateness of forgiving is centrally dependent on the offender’s repentance. In response, I claim that genuine forgiveness must always be elective and unconditional, and therefore genuinely unpredictable, no matter how much – or how little – the offender repents. I consider and (...)
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  13.  44
    Education, Despair and Morality: A Reply to Roberts.Christopher Cowley - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (1):298-309.
    In a recent thought-provoking piece, Peter Roberts argues against the central role of happiness as a guiding concept in education, and argues for more attention to be paid to despair. This does not mean cultivating despair in young people, but allowing them to make sense of their own natural occasional despair, as well as the despair of others. I agree with Roberts about happiness, and about the need for more attention to despair, but I argue that focusing too much on (...)
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  14.  41
    Conscientious objection and the limits of dialogue.Christopher Cowley - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (10):1004-1014.
    In Kimberly Brownlee’s book, Conscience and Conviction, she argues that Thomas More’s paradigmatic ‘personal objection’ successfully meets the 4 conditions of her ‘Communicative Principle’. In this article I want to challenge Brownlee’s ‘universality’ condition and the ‘dialogical’ condition by focusing on a counter-example of a British GP conscientiously objecting to authorizing an abortion. I argue that such an objection can be morally admirable, even though the GP is not politically active, even though she is not open-minded to the possibility that (...)
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  15.  48
    Education, Despair and Morality: A Reply to Roberts.Christopher Cowley - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4).
    In a recent thought-provoking piece, Peter Roberts argues against the central role of happiness as a guiding concept in education, and argues for more attention to be paid to despair. This does not mean cultivating despair in young people, but allowing them to make sense of their own natural occasional despair, as well as the despair of others. I agree with Roberts about happiness, and about the need for more attention to despair, but I argue that focusing too much on (...)
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  16.  30
    Divorce, Disorientation, and Remarriage.Christopher Cowley - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):531-544.
    This paper asks three inter-related questions, proceeding chronologically through a divorcee’s experience: is it responsible and rational to make an unconditional marital vow in the first place? does divorce break that unconditional marital vow? And the main question: can the divorcee make a second unconditional marital vow in all moral seriousness? To the last question I answer yes. I argue that the divorce process is so disorienting – to use Amy Harbin’s term – as to transform the divorcee and therefore (...)
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  17.  12
    Moral Responsibility.Christopher Cowley - 2013 - Bristol, CT: Routledge.
    How and to what degree are we responsible for our characters, our lives, our misfortunes, our relationships and our children? This question is at the heart of "Moral Responsibility". The book explores accusations and denials of moral responsibility for particular acts, responsibility for character, and the role of luck and fate in ethics. Moral responsibility as the grounds for a retributivist theory of punishment is examined, alongside discussions of forgiveness, parental responsibility, and responsibility before God. The book also discusses collective (...)
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  18.  7
    Might Forgiveness Be Overrated?Christopher Cowley - forthcoming - International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-13.
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  19.  56
    Dementia, identity and the role of friends.Christopher Cowley - 2018 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 21 (2):255-264.
    Ronald Dworkin introduced the example of Margo, who was so severely demented that she could not recognise any family or friends, and could not remember anything of her life. At the same time, however, she seemed full of childish delight. Dworkin also imagines that, before her dementia, Margo signed an advance refusal of life-saving treatment. Now severely demented, she develops pneumonia, easy to treat, but lethal if untreated. Dworkin argues that the advance refusal ought to be heeded and Margo be (...)
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  20. A new defence of Williams's reasons-internalism.Christopher Cowley - 2005 - Philosophical Investigations 28 (4):346–368.
    Williams's classic 1980 article ‘Internal and External Reasons’ has attracted much criticism, but, in my view, has never been properly refuted. I wish to describe and defend Williams's account against three powerful criticisms by Michael Smith, John McDowell and Tim Scanlon. In addition, I draw certain implications from Williams's account – implications with which Williams would not necessarily agree – about the nature and the role of the personal in ethics. Williams's insight, that a reason (including a moral reason) must (...)
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  21.  5
    Why Medical Ethics Should Not be Taught by Philosophers.Christopher Cowley - 2005 - Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies 5 (1):50-63.
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  22.  15
    Supererogation and Forgiveness.Christopher Cowley - 2023 - In David Heyd (ed.), Handbook of Supererogation. Springer Nature Singapore. pp. 199-219.
    Forgiveness is widely considered a paradigm of supererogation: it seems to be morally permissible without being obligatory, and it seems to be almost always admirable and praiseworthy. I want to show that the phenomenon is a bit more complicated, and that many instances are hard to describe as supererogatory. First, I will distinguish forgiveness from some other responses to the transgression (ignoring, excusing, letting go). Second, I will examine the philosophical debate over the question of whether or not the victim (...)
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  23.  68
    Introduction: The agents, acts and attitudes of supererogation.Christopher Cowley - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:1-23.
    I confess to finding the term ‘supererogation’ ugly and unpronounceable. I am also generally suspicious of technical terms in moral philosophy, since they are vulnerable to self-serving definition and counter-definition, to the point of obscuring whether there is a single phenomenon about which to disagree. It was surely not accidental that J.O. Urmson, in his classic 1958 article that launched the contemporary Anglophone debate, eschewed the technical term in favour of the more familiar concepts of saints and heroes. Since then, (...)
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  24. Changing One’s Mind on Moral Matters.Christopher Cowley - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (3):277 - 290.
    Contemporary moral philosophy assumes an account of what it means to legitimately change one’s mind in ethics, and I wish to challenge this account by enlarging the category of the legitimate. I am just as eager to avoid illegitimate mind-changing brought on by deceit or brainwashing, but I claim that legitimacy should be defined in terms of transparency of method. A social reformer should not be embarrassed to admit that he acquired many beliefs about justice while reading Dickens. As such, (...)
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  25. Understanding another's wrongdoing.Christopher Cowley - 2011 - Philosophy and Literature 35 (1):79-90.
    In Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov is an impoverished university student who commits a brutal double-murder of an old money-lender and her sister, and then for much of the novel manages to evade detection.1 He is racked by guilt and anxiety from the act. Sonia is a young woman who lives with her parents and several siblings. Her father is an alcoholic, unable to hold down a job, and Sonia has therefore become a prostitute to support the family. (...)
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  26.  49
    Moral Necessity and the Personal.Christopher Cowley - 2004 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):123-138.
    I claim that the dominant moral-realist understanding of action and moral responsibility cannot provide a comprehensive account of morality since it neglects the irreducibly personal component of the individual’s moral experience. This is not to embrace non-cognitivism, however; indeed, I challenge the whole realist framework of most contemporary moral philosophy. To this end I explore the phenomenon of moral necessity, exemplified by Luther’s declaration that he “has to” continue his protests against the church. I am careful to distinguish this kind (...)
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  27. Regret, Remorse and the Twilight Perspective.Christopher Cowley - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (5):624-634.
    I examine the ‘momentous’ choices that one makes early in life – about career or spouse, for example – and I ask what it means to regret such choices at the end of one’s life. I argue that such regrets are almost meaningless because of the difficulty of imaginatively accessing a much earlier self. I then contrast long-term regret to remorse, and argue that the two are qualitatively different experiences because remorse involves another person as victim.
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  28.  36
    Ivan Ilych and Autobiographical Despair.Christopher Cowley - 2021 - Philosophy and Literature 45 (1):199-210.
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  29. A Renewed Objection Of Universalisability.Christopher Cowley - 2006 - Philosophical Writings 31 (1).
    In 1965 Peter Winch published ‘The Universalisability of Moral Judgements’. I feel that the argument in this paper has never been successfully refuted, and that it remains relevant to many contemporary debates in moral philosophy. Winch argued against the widespread assumption that a moral judgement, if true, ought to be universalisable for all people in relevantly similar situations. He considers the example of Captain Vere in Melville’s ‘Billy Budd’: Vere managed to condemn a man he considered innocent, while Winch concludes (...)
     
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  30.  5
    Biography and betrayal.Christopher Cowley - 2022 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 5 (1):3-14.
    John Bayley was married to Iris Murdoch for 45 years. In the last few years of her life, Murdoch developed Alzheimer’s, and John Bayley wrote a memoir about their life together, including the difficulties of looking after her with the disease. Although the Memoir was generally well-received, some critics called the publication an act of betrayal, because of the intimacy of some of the revelations, because of the public reduction of a great mind to a sick old woman, and especially (...)
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  31.  5
    Cultivating Transferable Skills in Philosophy Undergraduates.Christopher Cowley - 2001 - Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies 1 (1):39-51.
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  32.  21
    Divorce, Disorientation, and Remarriage.Christopher Cowley - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):531-544.
    This paper asks three inter-related questions, proceeding chronologically through a divorcee’s experience: is it responsible and rational to make an unconditional marital vow in the first place? does divorce break that unconditional marital vow? And the main question: can the divorcee make a second unconditional marital vow in all moral seriousness? To the last question I answer yes. I argue that the divorce process is so disorienting – to use Amy Harbin’s term – as to transform the divorcee and therefore (...)
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  33.  27
    Divorce, Disorientation, and Remarriage.Christopher Cowley - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):531-544.
    This paper asks three inter-related questions, proceeding chronologically through a divorcee’s experience: is it responsible and rational to make an unconditional marital vow in the first place? does divorce break that unconditional marital vow? And the main question: can the divorcee make a second unconditional marital vow in all moral seriousness? To the last question I answer yes. I argue that the divorce process is so disorienting – to use Amy Harbin’s term – as to transform the divorcee and therefore (...)
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  34. Forgiving the Unrepentant.Christopher Cowley - 2000 - Etica E Politica 2 (1).
    Forgiveness is one possible response by a 'victim' to a specific act of wrongdoing, especially when the 'wrongdoer' apologises and invites joint condemnation of the act , perhaps explaining the source of misjudgement or ignorance that brought it about. In this paper, however, I will ask what the victim can do when faced with an unrepentant wrongdoer, perhaps some-one who even refuses to acknowledge that a wrong act was committed or that the victim 'really' suffered . Importantly, I will ask (...)
     
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  35.  13
    Introduction to the Symposium on Existential Flourishing.Christopher Cowley - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (2):205-312.
    Volume 28, Issue 2, May 2020, Page 205-312.
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  36.  11
    Introduction: What Is a Philosophy of Autobiography?Christopher Cowley - 2015 - In The Philosophy of Autobiography. University of Chicago Press. pp. 1-21.
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  37.  41
    Jeffrey Blustein: Forgiveness and Remembrance: Remembering Wrongdoing in Personal and Public Life: Oxford University Press, 2014, 344 pp., $24.95.Christopher Cowley - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):277-279.
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  38.  43
    Justice, Identity and the Family.Christopher Cowley - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (5):754-765.
  39.  15
    Love, Choice, and Taking Responsibility.Christopher Cowley - 2021 - In Simon Cushing (ed.), New Philosophical Essays on Love and Loving. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 87-100.
    There is a long-standing philosophical discussion about the relationship between love and choice. The most simplistic versions see love as something one “falls” into, without any choice at all. A more sophisticated account of love would accommodate some degree of indirect choice: I feel an initial interest, and choose to seek her out more. I can also choose to create and sustain the conditions that support love, for example, by avoiding infidelity and long commutes. However, such indirect choices are relatively (...)
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  40.  27
    Love’s Forgiveness: Kierkegaard, Resentment, Humility and Hope: by John Lippitt, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2020, xvi + 236 pp., £51.00 ($63.00) (hbk), ISBN: 978-0-19-886183-6.Christopher Cowley - 2021 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 29 (2):263-268.
    Forgiveness is a perennially rich topic in philosophy. It gathers together questions of ethics as well as philosophy of mind, action and emotion; it has analytic and Continental slants, and an impo...
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  41.  75
    Learning to Love.Christopher Cowley - 2010 - Philosophical Topics 38 (1):1-15.
    Imagine that you find yourself in a situation of considerable adversity and apparent permanence. Does it make sense for me to advise you to learn to love your situation? I argue that such advice is capable of a robust meaning beyond the mere expression of compassion, and far beyond the pragmatic advice to ‘accept it’ or ‘make the best of it’. I respond to the objections that love cannot be commanded, and that I am counselling pernicious forms of self-deception or (...)
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  42. Moral Dilemmas in Greek Tragedies: a Discussion of Aeschylus's Agamemnon and Sophokles's Antigone.Christopher Cowley - 2001 - Etica E Politica 3 (1).
    By looking at the situations faced by the protagonists of two classic plays , I try to shed light on what it means to face an insoluble moral dilemma, what it might mean to deal with it, and how the dilemma can reveal certain crucial information about the decision-maker to us readers-spectators, to other characters in the play who witness, or are implicated by, the incident, as well as, and perhaps most importantly, to the protagonist himself. In so doing, I (...)
     
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  43. Moral Philosophy and the ‘Real World’.Christopher J. Cowley - 2011 - Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis 31 (1):21-30.
    Notoriously, most philosophers write for other philosophers. Most philosophy books are designed for students of philosophy, students who can be assumed to have signed up and remained in the subject voluntarily, and therefore to have a certain interest in the subject and a certain understanding of the point of it all. In this paper I want to consider the philosopher’s engagement with those who, living in the ‘real world’, have had neither interest in nor exposure to philosophy beyond the stereotypes (...)
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  44.  27
    Reckless Enabling.Christopher Cowley - 2020 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 14 (1):51-67.
    The 2016, the UK Supreme Court case of Jogee confirmed a long-standing convention in English law. In cases where D is assisting or encouraging P to commit an offence, D will only be liable as an accessory for that offence if she intentionally assists or encourages P and if she knows the essential features of the offence. In this paper, I discuss and develop some of the arguments from Sanford Kadish’s 1996 article “Reckless Complicity.” I argue that a special sub-category (...)
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  45.  3
    Reconceiving Medical Ethics.Christopher Cowley (ed.) - 2012 - Bloomsbury Academic.
    This volume of original work comprises a modest challenge, sometimes direct, sometimes implicit, to the mainstream Anglo-American conception of the discipline of medical ethics. It does so not by trying to fill the gaps with exotic minority interest topics, but by re-examining some of the fundamental assumptions of the familiar philosophical arguments, and some of the basic situations that generate the issues. The most important such situation is the encounter between the doctor and the suffering patient, which forms one of (...)
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  46. Richard Terdiman, Body and Story: The Ethics and Practice of Theoretical Conflict Reviewed by.Christopher Cowley & Alena Dvorakova - 2006 - Philosophy in Review 26 (3):225-227.
     
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  47.  42
    Special Issue on Recklessness and Negligence.Christopher Cowley & Beatrice Krebs - 2020 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 14 (1):5-8.
    This paper introduces the Special Issue on Recklessness and Negligence. It highlights the main issues and controversies that surround these concepts and then briefly introduces each of the papers that comprise the Special Issue.
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  48.  22
    Special Issue on Recklessness and Negligence.Christopher Cowley & Beatrice Krebs - 2020 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 14 (1):5-8.
    This paper introduces the Special Issue on Recklessness and Negligence. It highlights the main issues and controversies that surround these concepts and then briefly introduces each of the papers that comprise the Special Issue.
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  49.  11
    Supererogation.Christopher Cowley (ed.) - 2015 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    According to its simplest definition, supererogation means freely and intentionally doing good beyond the requirements of duty. A more complex definition incorporates the responses of third parties: the supererogatory act is one that is praiseworthy if performed, but not blameworthy if omitted, as long as one does one's duty. This collection of essays, based on papers delivered at the Royal Institute of Philosophy's Annual Conference in Dublin in June 2014, explores a broad range of philosophical problems that stem from various (...)
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  50.  79
    The conjoined twins and the limits of rationality in applied ethics.Christopher Cowley - 2003 - Bioethics 17 (1):69–88.
    In this article I consider the case of the surgical separation of conjoined twins resulting in the immediate and predictable death of the weaker one. The case was submitted to English law by the hospital, and the operation permitted against the parents’ wishes. I consider the relationship between the legal decision and the moral reasons adduced in its support, reasons gaining their force against the framework of much mainstream normative ethical theory. I argue that in a few morally dilemmatic situations, (...)
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