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Jacob Sparks
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  1. Can’T Buy Me Love.Jacob Sparks - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42:341-352.
    Critics of commodification often claim that the buying and selling of some good communicates disrespect or some other inappropriate attitude. Such semiotic critiques have been leveled against markets in sex, pornography, kidneys, surrogacy, blood, and many other things. Brennan and Jaworski (2015a) have recently argued that all such objections fail. They claim that the meaning of a market transaction is a highly contingent, socially constructed fact. If allowing a market for one of these goods can improve the supply, access or (...)
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  2.  28
    Rule by Automation: How Automated Decision Systems Promote Freedom and Equality.Athmeya Jayaram & Jacob Sparks - forthcoming - Moral Philosophy and Politics.
    Using automated systems to avoid the need for human discretion in government contexts – a scenario we call ‘rule by automation’ – can help us achieve the ideal of a free and equal society. Drawing on relational theories of freedom and equality, we explain how rule by automation is a more complete realization of the rule of law and why thinkers in these traditions have strong reasons to support it. Relational theories are based on the absence of human domination and (...)
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  3.  70
    Justifying the Risks of COVID-19 Challenge Trials: The Analogy with Organ Donation.Athmeya Jayaram, Jacob Sparks & Daniel Callies - 2022 - Bioethics 36 (1):100-106.
    In the beginning of the COVID pandemic, researchers and bioethicists called for human challenge trials to hasten the development of a vaccine for COVID. However, the fact that we lacked a specific, highly effective treatment for COVID led many to argue that a COVID challenge trial would be unethical and we ought to pursue traditional phase III testing instead. These ethical objections to challenge trials may have slowed the progress of a COVID vaccine, so it is important to evaluate their (...)
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  4. Anscombe's Relative Bruteness.Jacob Sparks - 2020 - Philosophical News 18:135-145.
    Ethical beliefs are not justified by familiar methods. We do not directly sense ethical properties, at least not in the straightforward way we sense colors or shapes. Nor is it plausible to think – despite a tradition claiming otherwise – that there are self-evident ethical truths that we can know in the way we know conceptual or mathematical truths. Yet, if we are justified in believing anything, we are justified in believing various ethical propositions e.g., that slavery is wrong. If (...)
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  5. Is, Ought, and the Regress Argument.Jacob Sparks - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):528-543.
    Many take the claim that you cannot ‘get’ an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ to imply that non- moral beliefs are by themselves incapable of justifying moral beliefs. I argue that this is a mistake and that the position that moral beliefs are justified exclusively by non-moral beliefs—a view that I call moral inferentialism—presents an attractive non-sceptical moral epistemology.
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  6.  51
    Moral Perception and Morally Relevant Perception.Jacob Sparks - 2018 - ASEBL Journal 13:19-27.
    You might bear witness to some injustice, but can you witness the injustice itself? At first glance, it’s tempting to say “yes.” Sometimes we see things that provoke an immediate judgement that some act is wrong just as we sometimes see things that provoke the immediate judgement that e.g. the book is red or that our friend is angry. It seems like we perceive the injustice just as we perceive the redness or the anger. Natural as that position is, I (...)
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  7.  32
    You Give Love A Bad Name.Jacob Sparks - 2019 - Business Ethics Journal Review 7 (2):7-13.
    Brennan and Jaworski (2018) accuse me of misunderstanding their thesis and failing to produce a counterexample to it. In this Response, I clarify my central argument in “Can’t Buy Me Love,” explain why I used prostitution as an example, and work to advance the debate.
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  8.  29
    Capacity, Obligation, and Medical Billing.Mark Wells & Jacob Sparks - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (1):17-24.
    It is a common assumption that medical institutions may permissibly use the force of law to seek remuneration for costs incurred in medical intervention done without patient consent. In this paper, we challenge that assumption. Specifically, we claim that: Generally, when patients who lack capacity are given medical treatment without their consent, those practitioners who treated them are wrong to use legal mechanisms to secure remuneration for that treatment.
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    Can’T Buy Approval.Jacob Sparks - 2018 - Business Ethics Journal Review 6 (2):7-10.
    James Stacey Taylor claims that my argument in “Can’t Buy Me Love” is both incomplete and doomed to fail. I grant some of Taylor’s points, but remind him that semiotic objections to the commodification of certain goods are strongest when we think not about individual market transactions, but about what it means for a society to support the market in question.
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