David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (4):509-530 (2004)
In the contemporary debate on moral status, it is not uncommon to find philosophers who embrace the following basic moral principle: The Principle of Full Moral Status: The degree to which an entity E possesses moral status is proportional to the degree to which E possesses morally relevant properties until a threshold degree of morally relevant properties possession is reached, whereupon the degree to which E possesses morally relevant properties may continue to increase, but the degree to which E possesses moral status remains the same. One philosopher who has contributed significantly to the contemporary debate on moral status and embraces the Principle of Full Moral Status is Mary Anne Warren. Warren holds not only that it is possible for some entities to possess full moral status, but that some entities actually do, e.g., normal adult human beings. I argue that two of Warren’s primary arguments for the Principle of Full Moral Status—the Argument from Pragmatism and the Argument from Explanatory Power—are significantly flawed.
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