Natural law theory is enjoying a revival of interest in a variety of scholarly disciplines including law, philosophy, political science, and theology and religious studies. This volume presents twelve original essays by leading natural law theorists and their critics. The contributors discuss natural law theories of morality, law and legal reasoning, politics, and the rule of law. Readers get a clear sense of the wide diversity of viewpoints represented among contemporary theorists, and an opportunity to evaluate the arguments and counterarguments (...) exchanged in the current debates between natural law theorists and their critics. Contributors include Hadley Arkes, Joseph M. Boyle, Jr., John Finnis, Robert P. George, Russell Hittinger, Neil MacCormick, Michael Moore, Jeffrey Stout, Joseph Raz, Jeremy Waldron, Lloyd Weinreb, and Ernest Weinrib. (shrink)
Contemporary liberal thinkers commonly suppose that there is something in principle unjust about the legal prohibition of putatively victimless crimes. Here Robert P. George defends the traditional justification of morals legislation against criticisms advanced by leading liberal theorists. He argues that such legislation can play a legitimate role in maintaining a moral environment conducive to virtue and inhospitable to at least some forms of vice. Among the liberal critics of morals legislation whose views George considers are Ronald Dworkin, (...) Jeremy Waldron, David A.J. Richards, and Joseph Raz. He also considers the influential modern justification for morals legislation offered by Patrick Devlin as an alternative to the traditional approach. George closes with a sketch of a "pluralistic perfectionist" theory of civil liberties and public morality, showing that it is fully compatible with a defense of morals legislation. Making Men Moral will interest legal scholars and political theorists as well as theologians and philosophers focusing on questions of social justice and political morality. (shrink)
The paper by Magill and Neaves in this issue of the Journal attempts to rebut the "natural potency" position, based on recent advances in direct reprogramming of somatic cells to yield "induced pluripotent stem" (iPS) cells. As stated by the authors, the natural potency position holds that because "a human embryo directs its own integral organismic function from its beginning . . . there is a whole, albeit immature, and distinct human organism that is intrinsically valuable with the status of (...) inviolability and deserving full moral respect" (p. 26). The authors boldly assert that "The recent production of iPS . . . highlights a prima facie absurdity for the natural potentiality argument" (p. 29). Yet the argument against natural potency is both logically flawed and based on a characterization of the scientific evidence that is factually inaccurate. (shrink)
This study investigated employee perceptions of ethical climates in a sample of Russian organizations and the relationship between ethical climate and behaviors believed to characterize successful managers. A survey of managerial employees in Russia (n = 136) indicates that "rules" was the most reported and "independence" was the least reported ethical climate type. Those who perceived a strong link between success and ethical behavior report high levels of a "caring" climate and low levels of an "instrumental" climate. Implications for practitioners (...) and researchers are discussed. (shrink)
Abstract. We argue that all human beings have a special type of dignity which is the basis for (1) the obligation all of us have not to kill them, (2) the obligation to take their well-being into account when we act, and (3) even the obligation to treat them as we would have them treat us, and indeed, that all human beings are equal in fundamental dignity. We give reasons to oppose the position that only some human beings, because of (...) their possession of certain characteristics in addition to their humanity (for example, an immediately exercisable capacity for self-consciousness, or for rational deliberation), have full moral worth. What distinguishes human beings from other animals, what makes human beings persons rather than things, is their rational nature, and human beings are rational creatures by virtue of possessing natural capacities for conceptual thought, deliberation, and free choice, that is, the natural capacity to shape their own lives. (shrink)
This collection of original papers from distinguished legal theorists offers a challenging assessment of the nature and viability of legal positivism, a branch of legal theory which continues to dominate contemporary legal theoretical debates. To what extent is the law adequately described as autonomous? Should law claim autonomy? These and other questions are addressed by the authors in this carefully edited collection, and it will be of interest to all lawyers and scholars interested in legal philosophy and legal theory.
The author, a member of the U.S.President's Council on Bioethics, discussesethical issues raised by human cloning, whetherfor purposes of bringing babies to birth or forresearch purposes. He first argues that everycloned human embryo is a new, distinct, andenduring organism, belonging to the speciesHomo sapiens, and directing its owndevelopment toward maturity. He then distinguishesbetween two types of capacities belonging toindividual organisms belonging to this species,an immediately exerciseable capacity and abasic natural capacity that develops over time. He argues that it is the (...) second type ofcapacity that is the ground for full moralrespect, and that this capacity (and itsconcomitant degree of respect) belongs tocloned human embryos no less than to adulthuman beings. He then considers and rejectscounter-arguments to his position, includingthe suggestion that the capacity of embryos isequivalent to the capacity of somatic cells,that full human rights are afforded only tohuman organisms with functioning brains, thatthe possibility of twinning diminishes themoral status of embryos, that the fact thatpeople do not typically mourn the loss of earlyembryos implies that they have a diminishedmoral status, that the fact that earlyspontaneous abortions occur frequentlydiminishes the moral status of embryos, andthat his arguments depend upon a concept ofensoulment. He concludes that if the moralstatus of cloned human embryos is equivalent tothat of adults, then public policy should bebased upon this assumption. (shrink)
This work brings together leading defenders of Natural Law and Liberalism for a series of frank and lively exchanges touching upon critical issues of contemporary moral and political theory. The book is an outstanding example of the fruitful engagement of traditions of thought about fundamental matters of ethics and justice.
Computability and Logic has become a classic because of its accessibility to students without a mathematical background and because it covers not simply the staple topics of an intermediate logic course, such as Godel’s incompleteness theorems, but also a large number of optional topics, from Turing’s theory of computability to Ramsey’s theorem. Including a selection of exercises, adjusted for this edition, at the end of each chapter, it offers a new and simpler treatment of the representability of recursive functions, a (...) traditional stumbling block for students on the way to the Godel incompleteness theorems. (shrink)
There is an increasing interest in how managers describe and respond to what they regard as moral versus nonmoral problems in organizations. In this study, forty managers described a moral problem and a nonmoral problem that they had encountered in their organization, each of which had been resolved. Analyses indicated that: (1) the two types of problems could be significantly differentiated using four of Jones' (1991) components of moral intensity; (2) the labels managers used to describe problems varied systematically between (...) the two types of problems and according to the problem's moral intensity; and (3) problem management processes varied according to the problem's type and moral intensity. (shrink)
Previous studies have shown that 1 participants are reluctant to accept a conclusion as certainly true when it is derived from a valid conditional argument that includes a doubtful premise, and 2 participants typically link the degree of uncertainty found in a given premise set to its conclusion. Two experiments were designed to further investigate these phenomena. Ninety adult participants in Experiment 1 were first asked to judge the validity of three conditional arguments Modus Ponens, Denial of the Antecedent, and (...) Affirmation of the Consequent . They were then required to evaluate conclusion uncertainty as a function of two degrees of asserted uncertainty in the major conditional premise If p then it is very probable that q and if p then it is not very probable that q of the arguments from the first task that were otherwise unchanged. Results revealed an effect for asserted-uncertainty in two of the three argument forms. Marginal support was found for the hypothesis that perceived argument validity would be a predictor of performance. Experiment 2 investigated the way 40 adult participants combined two sources of asserted uncertainty, one in the major premise and another in the minor premise, when they had to score the uncertainty of the conclusion. The two most prominent kinds of responses were to choose the same likelihood as the weaker of the two expressed in the premises, or a lower one. However, the within-subject consistency was poor. Theoretical implications are discussed. (shrink)
One of the most influential accounts of blame—the affective account—takes its cue from P.F. Strawson’s discussion of the reactive attitudes. To blame someone, on this account, is to target her with resentment, indignation, or (in the case of self-blame) guilt. Given the connection between these emotions and the demand for regard that is arguably central to morality, the affective account is quite plausible. Recently, however, George Sher has argued that the affective account of blame, as understood both by Strawson (...) himself and by contemporary Strawsonians, is inadequate because it cannot make sense of blameworthiness. In this paper I defend the affective account of blame against several of Sher’s arguments for this conclusion. In the process, I clarify the Strawsonian account of moral responsibility, and I discuss how the affective account of blame ought to be understood and articulated. (shrink)
In this one-of-a-kind text, George P. Fletcher, a renowned legal theorist, offers a provocative yet accessible overview of the basics of legal thought. The first section of the book is designed to introduce the reader to fundamental concepts such as the rule of law and deciding cases under the law. It continues with an analysis of the values of justice, desert, consent, and equality, as they figure into our judgment of legal cultures in terms of soundness and legitimacy. The (...) final chapters address the problems of morality and consistency in the law. In each case the author not only introduces the basic ideas but considers important arguments in the contemporary literature and raises original claims of his own. Ideally suited for courses in the philosophy of law, legal issues, and jurisprudence, Basic Concepts of Legal Thought fills a void in the literature, as there is no other volume that both eases law students into the mysteries of legal philosophy and provides an introduction to the legal mind for non-lawyers. (shrink)
A symbol might have racist connotations in the sense that a substantial portion of the relevant population associates it with racist values or institutions. A governmental symbol display might therefore carry racist connotations that the government doesn’t intend, including connotations that haven’t always been attached to the symbol. So I claimed recently in the pages of this journal (Alter 2000b). I also explained how those claims create problems for some of George Schedler’s (1998) main views about governmental displays of (...) the Confederate battle flag. In his response, Schedler rejects my claims, arguing that they lead to absurdities when applied to various examples. He adds that one of his examples brings into question my “political savvy” (Schedler 2000, p. 5). Be that as it may, his arguments against my claims are entirely without force, and serve to confirm the weakness of his initial position. So I’ll argue. I’ll also identify a problematic assumption in our dispute, which is not uncommon in discussions of symbolic meaning and racist speech. (shrink)