Until relatively recently, few democrats had much to say about the constitution of the ‘demos' that ought to rule. A number of recent writers have, however, argued that all those whose interests are affected must be enfranchised if decision-making is to be fully democratic. This article criticizes this approach, arguing that it misunderstands democracy. Democratic procedures are about the agency of the people so only agents can be enfranchised, yet not all bearers of interests are also agents. If we focus (...) on agency, rather than who is affected, then this leads us to focus on the permissible limits of action, rather than who makes the decision. Just as individual sovereignty is ordinarily limited by the requirement not to injure others, we may apply similar restrictions to what a demos can permissibly do. Thus, any collection of individuals may choose to regulate their affairs collectively for mutual benefit, but should be prohibited from imposing negative externalities on outsiders. On this view, the constitution or definition of the demos is arbitrary, from the democratic point of view. Moreover, democracy does not require the expansion of the franchise, unless injuries cannot be avoided. (shrink)
In this reply to Wilkinson and De Wispelaere, I argue that an opt-out donation system can be regarded as tacit consent. I first separate the opt-in/opt-out issue from that of the role that the family ought to play. I then argue that what De Wispelaere calls minimal approval-tracking is not obviously necessary and that, even if it were, opt-out schemes can satisfy this requirement.
This paper defends an ‘opt-out’ scheme for organ procurement, by distinguishing this system from ‘presumed consent’ (which the author regards as an erroneous justification of it). It, first, stresses the moral importance of increasing the supply of organs and argues that making donation easier need not conflict with altruism. It then goes on to explore one way that donation can be increased, namely by adopting an opt-out system, in which cadaveric organs are used unless the deceased (or their family) registered (...) an objection. Such policies are often labelled ‘presumed consent’, but it is argued that critics are right to be sceptical of this idea—consent is shown to be an action, rather than a mental attitude, and thus not something that can be presumed. Either someone has consented or they have not, whatever their attitude to the use of their organs. Thankfully, an opt-out scheme need not rest on the presumption of consent. Actual consent can be given implicitly, by one's actions, so it is argued that the failure to register an objection (given certain background conditions) should itself be taken as sign of consent. Therefore, it is permissible to use the organs of someone who did not opt out, because they have—by their silence—actually consented. (shrink)
Proposals for increasing organ donation are often rejected as incompatible with altruistic motivation on the part of donors. This paper questions, on conceptual grounds, whether most organ donors really are altruistic. If we distinguish between altruism and solidarity – a more restricted form of other-concern, limited to members of a particular group – then most organ donors exhibit solidarity, rather than altruism. If organ donation really must be altruistic, then we have reasons to worry about the motives of existing donors. (...) However, I argue that altruism is not necessary, because organ donation supplies important goods, whatever the motivation, and we can reject certain dubious motivations, such as financial profit, without insisting on altruism.Once solidaristic donation is accepted, certain reforms for increasing donation rates seem permissible. This paper considers two proposals. Firstly, it has been suggested that registered donors should receive priority for transplants. While this proposal appears based on a solidaristic norm of reciprocity, it is argued that such a scheme would be undesirable, since non-donors may contribute to society in other ways. The second proposal is that donors should be able to direct their organs towards recipients that they feel solidarity with. This is often held to be inconsistent with altruistic motivation, but most donation is not entirely undirected in the first place (for instance, donor organs usually go to co-nationals). While allowing directed donation would create a number of practical problems, such as preventing discrimination, there appears to be no reason in principle to reject it. (shrink)
In an earlier article, I argued that David Estlund's notion of ‘normative consent’ could provide justification for an opt-out system of organ donation that does not involve presumptions about the deceased donor's consent. Where it would be wrong of someone to refuse their consent, then the fact that they have not actually given it is irrelevant, though an explicit denial of consent (as in opting out) may still be binding. My argument has recently been criticised by Potts et al, who (...) argue that such a policy would involve taking organs from people whose organs should not be taken and would be a recipe for totalitarianism. The present response seeks to rebut both the ethical and political objections. I argue that people can indeed be under a moral obligation to donate their organs, even if they are not technically dead at the time and their donation does not save anyone else's life. Moreover, I argue that an opt-out system—unlike mandatory donation—is not totalitarian because it preserves the right of individuals to act morally wrongly, by opting out when they have no good moral reason to do so. The policy I propose is neither immoral nor totalitarian. (shrink)
Recent discussion has focused on whether or not to teach moral theories, and, if yes, to what extent. In this piece the author argues that the criticisms of teaching moral theories raised by Rob Lawlor should lead us to reconsider not whether but how to teach moral theories. It seems that most of the problems Lawlor identifies derive from an uncritical, theory-led approach to teaching. It is suggested that we might instead start by discussing practical cases or the desiderata of (...) a successful moral theory, and then build up to comparing theories such as consequentialism, deontology, and so on. In this way, theories are taught but students do not take them to be the alpha and omega of moral thinking. (shrink)
One way of increasing the supply of organs available for transplant would be to switch to an opt-out system of donor registration. This is typically assumed to operate on the basis of presumed consent, but this faces the objection that not all of those who fail to opt out would actually consent to the use of their cadaveric organs. This paper defuses this objection, arguing that people's actual, explicit or implicit, consent to use their organs is not needed. It borrows (...) David Estlund's notion of ‘normative consent’ from the justification of political authority and applies it to the case of organ donation. According to this idea, when it is wrong to withhold consent to something, the moral force of that lack of consent may be null and void. If it is wrong of a person to refuse to donate their cadaveric organs to others, then it may be that their actual consent is not needed. This supports an opt-out system, which provides protection for those who have genuine reasons to refuse donation, and spares the worries as to what the deceased would actually have wanted. (shrink)
Democracy is commonly associated with political equality and/or majority rule. This essay shows that these three ideas are conceptually separate, so the transition from any one to another stands in need of further substantive argument, which is not always adequately given. It does this by offering an alternative decision-making mechanism, called lottery voting, in which all individuals cast votes for their preferred options but, instead of these being counted, one is randomly selected and that vote determines the outcome. This procedure (...) is democratic and egalitarian, since all have an equal chance to influence outcomes, but obviously not majoritarian. (shrink)
Fairness is a central, but under-theorized, notion in moral and political philosophy. This paper makes two contributions. Firstly, it criticizes Broome’s seminal account of fairness in ( 1990–1991 ) Proc Aristotelian Soc 91:87–101, showing that there are problems with restricting fairness to a matter of relative satisfaction and holding that it does not itself require the satisfaction of the claims in question. Secondly, it considers the justification of lotteries to resolve cases of ties between competing claims, which Broome claims as (...) support for his theory, and contrasts random procedures to contests of skill, which may also be considered lotteries in a broader sense. I offer no alternative account of fairness of my own, but hope to point the way for future research on the nature of fairness. (shrink)
Mill's most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I show how this interpretation not only makes sense of Mill but allows him to respond to famous problems, such as Crisp's Haydn and the oyster and Nozick's experience machine.
This paper examines the problem of selecting a number of candidates to receive a good (admission) from a pool in which there are more qualified applicants than places. I observe that it is rarely possible to order all candidates according to some relevant criterion, such as academic merit, since these standards are inevitably somewhat vague. This means that we are often faced with the task of making selections between near-enough equal candidates. I survey one particular line of response, which says (...) that we should allow our choice of borderline candidates to be guided by non-relevant criteria such as gender-balancing. I argue that this would not, as commonly objected, be a case of sex discrimination if it is to be applied either in favour of men or women. Nonetheless, I argue that such policies are problematic because they violate the demand for publicity, which is required for legitimacy and to assure everyone that discrimination has not in fact taken place. Instead, I suggest that, if we are concerned to avoid discrimination, there may be a case for using lotteries as tie-breakers, not on grounds of fairness but to prevent taint of bias. (shrink)
The three most common responses to Taurek’s ‘numbers problem’ are saving the greater number, equal chance lotteries and weighted lotteries. Weighted lotteries have perhaps received the least support, having been criticized by Scanlon What We Owe to Each Other ( 1998 ) and Hirose ‘Fairness in Life and Death Cases’ ( 2007 ). This article considers these objections in turn, and argues that they do not succeed in refuting the fairness of a weighted lottery, which remains a potential solution to (...) cases of conflict. Moreover, it shows how these responses actually lead to a new argument for weighted lotteries, appealing to fairness and Pareto-optimality. (shrink)
Lotteries have long been used to resolve competing claims, yet their recent implementation to allocate school places in Brighton and Hove, England led to considerable public outcry. This article argues that, given appropriate selection is impossible when parties have equal claims, a lottery is preferable to an auction because it excludes unjust influences. Three forms of contractualism are discussed and the fairness of lotteries is traced to the fact that they give each person an equal chance, as a surrogate for (...) their equal claim to the good. It is argued that this can be a reason to favour an artificially-constructed lottery to a 'natural' lottery where there is suspicion that the latter may be biased. (shrink)
In this commentary I argue that Byrne & Hilbert commit a number of philosophical solecisms: They beg the question of “realism,” they take the phenomenon and the theoretical model to be the same thing, and they surreptitiously substitute data sets for the life-world.
: According to a consensus of psycho-physiological and philosophical theories, color sensations (or qualia) are generated in a cerebral "space" fed from photon-photoreceptor interaction (producing "metamers") in the retina of the eye. The resulting "space" has three dimensions: hue (or chroma), saturation (or "purity"), and brightness (lightness, value or intensity) and (in some versions) is further structured by primitive or landmark "colors"—usually four, or six (when white and black are added to red, yellow, green and blue). It has also been (...) proposed that there are eleven semantic universals—labeling the previous six plus the "intermediaries" of orange, pink, brown, purple, and gray. There are many versions of this consensus, but they all aim to provide ontological, epistemological and semantic blueprints for the brute fact of the reality of color ordained by Nature (evolution). In contrast to this consensus, we have argued that "seeing color" is not a matter of light waves impacting on our eyes, producing sensations to be categorized and labeled in the "color space" in the brain. While electrochemical events may unproblematically be regarded as the causal precondition for seeing color, the reception of sensations in "the color space" as semantically labeled natural categories, kinds, or information, is a "just so" story: it is Wittgenstein's beetle in a box. In contrast we consider that the authority of this consensus might better be regarded not as the result of the truth-tracking of nature, but as the sociohistorical outcome of philosophical presuppositions, scientific theories, experimental practices, technological apparatus, and their feed forward into the lifeworld. The question we shall therefore explore is whether, or to what extent, we ourselves are changed, as the conditions of production of color science change. Thus we are doing a kind of anthropology at two levels: of color science itself (and its effect on our own lifeworld), and of those studied by the "anthropology of color". As befits this stance we are agnostic about the theoretical entities of color science (cf. van Fraassen 2001), and within this new context, we propose to cross-cut object-and-subject, organism-and-environment (the bedrock of color science) in socio-historical ways. Our approach is in part inspired by, but not the same as, that of Gibson, in that we wish to pursue the notion of "social affordances" (Burmudez 1995). We suggest that color has become a naturalization through science-based technologies, which, through praxes and materializations, have become the perceptual and cultural entities that structure experience and understanding in the lifeworld. It is this naturalization that we shall refer to and characterize as "the historically inflected exosomatic organ". Consequently we shall explore the historical ontology of "color" without assuming an underlying biological constant (Dupré 2001). In part 1 we show the flimsiness of the evidence for the three dimensions of color, borrowed from physics, and fine-tuned to a "standard observer" (a "spectral creature" with a phenomenal "color space"). In part 2 we address the structuring of hue through the development of color circles and color spaces. This is followed by a review of the evidence for unique hues. Again the evidence is shown to be flimsy. We then show that an isolated domain of color is a particular kind of model, not a "natural given". In part 3, after reviewing what is referred to as "the isomorphy thesis," we discuss the exemplary case study of Berlin and Kay (1969). This illustrates the pull of stadial models presupposed by their evolutionary theory of color language. The Berlin and Kay paradigm proposes that American English color terms are incorrigible and can provide the universal metalanguage. We conclude by presenting an alternative account, namely that we ourselves are changed as the conditions of production of color science change. We argue that it is better to regard "seeing-color" as a historically inflected exosomatic organ that provides social affordances for those trained to grasp them. (shrink)
According to the state of the art in psychology and philosophy, colour sensations are located in a 'quality space'. This space has three dimensions: hue (the chromatic aspect of colour), saturation (the 'intensity' of hue), and brightness. This space is structured further via a small number of primitive hues or landmark colours, usually four (red, yellow, green, blue) or six (if white and black are included). It has also been suggested that there are eleven semantic universals — the six colours (...) previously mentioned plus orange, pink, brown, purple, and grey. Against the standard view, we argue that colour might better be regarded as the outcome of a social-historical developmental trajectory in which there is mutual shaping of philosophical presuppositions, scientific theories, experimental practices, technological tools, rhetorical frameworks, and their intercalated and recursive interactions with the lifeworld. That is: the domain of colour (the threedimensional quality space) is the outcome of interactive processes of scientific, instrumental, industrial, and everyday lifeworlds. (shrink)
In reply to Wierzbicka's advocacy of semantic primitives we argue that talk of the semantic primitives (like to see) repeats the fallacies addressed in the target article at a higher level. In reply to Malcolm's plea for a Wittgensteinian grammar of colour words, we argue that he uses words like “we” and “us” too easily, falling into the trap of “silly relativism.” In reply to McManus's science of word counts, we reiterate the nineteenth-century criticism that this method is based (...) on an illegitimate application of seemingly rigorous statistical methods. (shrink)
In this commentary I point out that Palmer mislocates the source of the inverted spectrum, misrepresents the nature of colour science, and offers no reason for prefering one colour machine over another. I conclude nonetheless that talk about “colour machines” is a step in the right direction.
In this target article the following hypotheses are discussed: (1) Colour is autonomous: a perceptuolinguistic and behavioural universal. (2) It is completely described by three independent attributes: hue, brightness, and saturation: (3) Phenomenologically and psychophysically there are four unique hues: red, green, blue, and yellow; (4) The unique hues are underpinned by two opponent psychophysical and/or neuronal channels: red/green, blue/yellow. The relevant literature is reviewed. We conclude: (i) Psychophysics and neurophysiology fail to set nontrivial constraints on colour categorization. (ii) Linguistic (...) evidence provides no grounds for the universality of basic colour categories. (iii) Neither the opponent hues red/green, blue/yellow nor hue, brightness, and saturation are intrinsic to a universal concept of colour. (iv) Colour is not autonomous. (shrink)
Sections R1 to R3 attempt to take the sting out of hostile commentaries. Sections R4 to R5 engage Berlin and Kay and the World Color Survey to correct the record. Section R6 begins the formulation of a new theory of colour as an engineering project with a technological developmental trajectory. It is recommended that the colour space be abandoned.