Erving Goffman’s “Asylums” is a key text in the development of contemporary, community-orientated mental health practice. It has survived as a trenchant critique of the asylum as total institution, and its publication in 1961 in book form marked a further stage in the discrediting of the asylum model of mental health care. In this paper, some responses from a range of disciplines to this text, 50 years on, are presented. A consultant psychiatrist with a special interest in cultural psychiatry and (...) mental health legislation, two collaborating psychotherapists in adult and forensic mental health, a philosopher, and a recent medical graduate, present their varying responses to the text. The editors present these with the hope of encouraging further dialogue and debate from service users, carers, clinicians, and academics and researchers across a range of disciplines. (shrink)
We draw on ancient Greek philosophy and contemporary psychosocial theorists to analyse the ethical implications of social policies implemented through the welfare state with the espoused objective of achieving social inclusion. We argue that many such policies establish a boundary between domains of inclusion and exclusion that perversely maintains the very problem such policies are designed to solve. They then also provide ?rationalisations? for social exclusion which imply that such states can be explained?that they are ethical, and so legitimate. We (...) illustrate our argument with reference to a specific area of social policy?Improving Access to Psychological Therapies?and discuss how it impacts on our own area of practice as state employed psychotherapists. We analyse how this policy frames aspects of social exclusion (un(der)employment?) as a ?psychological? problem: a move that grants the excluded a specific kind of identity and then locates the problem of exclusion in this identity. We invoke Plato's Republic to show how this offer of psychological ?help? subliminally suggests that these mental disorders result from individuals' failures to ?know their place? and to ?mind their own business?, rather than as a consequence of complex networks of social (dis)orders, exclusions and injustices within which we are all embedded. (shrink)
[T. M. Scanlon] It is clearly impermissible to kill one person (or refrain from giving him treatment that he needs in order to survive) because his organs can be used to save five others who are in need of transplants. It has seemed to many that the explanation for this lies in the fact that in such cases we would be intending the death of the person whom we killed, or failed to save. What makes these actions impermissible, however, (...) is not the agent's intention but rather the fact that the benefit envisaged does not justify an exception to the prohibition against killing or the requirement to give aid. The difference between this explanation and one appealing to intention is easily overlooked if one fails to distinguish between the prospective use of a moral principle to guide action and its retrospective use to appraise the way an agent governed him or herself. Even if this explanation is accepted, however, it remains an open question whether and how an agent's intention may be relevant to the permissibility of actions in other cases. \\\ [Jonathan Dancy] My first four sections concentrate on the second section of Professor Scanlon's contribution (hereafter IP), where he lays out his conception of moral principles and of the role they play in theory and practice. I will raise questions on the following issues: 1. Scanlon's initial introduction of the notion of a principle. 2. His rejection of the standard view that principles are concerned with the forbidding, permitting and requiring of actions. 3. His rejection of pro tanto conceptions of principles in favour of a conception of them as conclusive. 4. The resulting account of what it is for a principle to face and survive exceptions. Scanlon's discussion of these matters here both appeals to and is in some respects more detailed than the relevant section of his recent What We Owe to Each Other (hereafter WWO). The topic is interesting both for the role played by principles in Scanlon's present discussion of intention and permissibility, and more generally because of his account of wrongness: an act is wrong iff it is ruled out by principles that nobody could reasonably reject. The remainder of my contribution is concerned with the ostensible focus of IP, namely the relevance (if any) of agent-intentions to the permissibility of what is done. (shrink)
In this new book Moral Dimensions, T. M. Scanlon (2008) explores the ethical significance of the intentions and motives with which people act. According to Scanlon, these intentions and motives do not have any direct bearing on the permissibility of the act. Thus, Scanlon claims that the traditional Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) is mistaken. However, the way in which someone is motivated to act has a direct bearing on what Scanlon calls the act's "meaning". One (...) particularly important kind of "meaning" that an act can have consists in the ways in which it is appropriate for various people to blame the agent for the act. So the book ends with an extended analysis of blame and blameworthiness. (shrink)
In his book Moral Dimensions. Permissibility, Meaning, Blame , T.M. Scanlon proposes a new account of permissibility, and argues, against the doctrine of double effect (DDE), that intentions do not matter for permissibility. I argue that Scanlon's account of permissibility as based on what the agent should have known at the time of action does not sufficiently take into account Scanlon's own emphasis on permissibility as a question for the deliberating agent. A proper account of permissibility, based (...) on the agent's actual beliefs, will allow us to revise the principle Scanlon proposes for regulating the use of violence in war, and to show that, while the DDE as such might be invalid, its focus on intentions does point toward an important element which Scanlon's proposal lacks, viz. the requirement that the agent believes that her actions will have certain consequences and can be justified for that reason. (shrink)
In "What We Owe to Each Other", T. M. <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span> argues that one should save the greater number when faced with the choice between saving one life and two or more different lives. It is, <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span> claims, a virtue of this argument (which is traceable to Frances Kamm) that it does not appeal to the claims of groups of individuals but only to the claims of individuals. I demonstrate that this argument for saving the greater number, (...) indeed, depends, contrary to what <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span> says, upon an appeal to the claim of a group of individuals to be saved. (shrink)
According to the Principle of Double Effect (PDE), there are conditions under which it would be morally justifiable to cause some harm as a foreseen side-effect of one's action even though it would not be justifiable to form and execute the intention of causing the same harm. If we take the kind of justification in question to be that of moral permissibility, this principle correctly maps common intuitions about when it would be permissible to act in certain ways. T.M. (...) class='Hi'>Scanlon argues that the PDE so interpreted is problematic, as it returns implausible verdicts in other scenarios. Scanlon is unable to account for the common pattern of moral reasoning that we employ in the relevant cases. I argue that we can account for this pattern while avoiding implausible verdicts if we interpret the PDE as a principle about when it is licit to inflict harm rather than when it is permissible to do so, and if we connect the concept of the licit with that of the permissible in the right way. (shrink)
The untimely passing of Reverend Canon Dr Christopher Newell, AM, came as a shock to many in the bioethics world. As well as an obituary, this article notes a number of important themes in his work, and provides a select bibliography. Christopher's major contribution to this field is that he was one of a handful of scholars who made disability not only an acceptable area of bioethics—indeed a vital, central, fertile area of enquiry. Crucially Christopher emphasised (...) that where we do ethics is actually in everyday life—while we mourn his passing, his rich work and example will continue to inspire bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
An introduction to the March, 2005 symposium “The Political Theory of Organizations: A Retrospective Examination of Christopher McMahon’s Authority and Democracy” held in San Francisco as part of the Society for Business Ethics Group Meeting at the Pacific Division Meetings of the American Philosophical Association.
This paper is about Christopher Wren’s engravings for Thomas Willis’ The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves of 1664. It is a study in the intersection of medicine and art in 17th century Britain. Willis, an eminent English physician and anatomist, was a major figure in the development of modern neurology, and The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves was his most famous and influential book. Wren was Willis’ assistant and medical artist. I discuss the visual strategies employed by (...) Wren to present their research and frame it as genuine knowledge. (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
Scanlon's account of reasons is essential to his contractualism as a whole, providing an extensive foundation in practical reasoning for his theory. A full understanding of his account of reasons is therefore vital to understanding the nature of Scanlon's contractualism. With the aim of contributing to such an understanding, in this essay I reconstruct several of Scanlon's most significant arguments concerning reasons. I focus on two areas: his discussion of the role of desire in practical reasoning and (...) his arguments for the claim that reason judgements should be seen as objective. I conclude that the weakness of one his claims regarding desire may cause substantial problems for his arguments in both of the areas examined. (shrink)
T. M. Scanlon's magisterial book What We Owe to Each Other is surely one of the most sophisticated and important works of moral philosophy to have appeared for many years. It raises fundamental questions about all the main aspects of the subject, and I hope and expect that it will have a decisive influence on the shape and direction of moral philosophy in the years to come. In this essay I shall focus on four sets of issues raised by (...)Scanlon's systematic argument, with the aim of clarifying some of Scanlon's central assumptions and presenting alternatives at several key points. The perspective from which I offer these comments is that of a reader who is sympathetic to Scanlon's general approach but not yet convinced on various points of detail. (shrink)
(Forthcoming in Social Theory and Practice, 2002) Richard J. Arneson A notable achievement of T.M. <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span>'s What We Owe to Each Other1 is its sustained critique of welfarist consequentialism.2 Consequentialism is the doctrine that one morally ought always to do an act, of the alternatives, that brings about a state of affairs that is no less good than any other one could bring about. Welfarism is the view that what makes a state of affairs better or worse is (...) some increasing function of the welfare for persons realized in it. I shall argue that <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span>’s critique, though containing much of interest, fails on its own terms. (shrink)
In 1982, when T. M. Scanlon published “Contractualism and Utilitarianism,” he noted that, despite the widespread attention to Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, the appeal of contractualism as a moral theory had been under appreciated. In particular, the appeal of contractualism’s account of what he then called “moral motivation” had been under appreciated.1 It seems to me that, in the intervening quarter century, despite the widespread discussion of Scanlon’s work, the appeal of contractualism, in precisely this regard, has (...) still been under appreciated—even though Scanlon makes what he once called “moral motivation” central, throughout his work. My first aim, then, is to do my best to draw out and make vivid this appeal. I will do this by first considering the two questions that Scanlon thinks must be addressed by any moral theory, what he once called “the question of subject matter” and “the question of motivation.” I will spend some time first locating and explicating the second question, of motivation, and then displaying Scanlon’s answer to it—it is this answer which provides contractualism with its under-appreciated appeal. I will then return to the question of subject matter—which will, by that point, have been revealed as not wholly distinct from the question of motivation, as Scanlon understands it. But it is as an answer to this question that Scanlon’s theory is most often.. (shrink)
In the opening chapter of What We Owe To Each Other, Tim Scanlon produces a sustained critique of a Humean conception of practical reason. Scanlon claims he will argue that unless having a desire just is to see something as a reason, desires play (almost) no role in the explanation or justification of action. Yet his specific arguments against Humeanism all employ a very austere understanding of desire (which he calls the "standard model"), and attempt to show that (...) desires so understood are not up to any explanatory or justificatory task. Since the standard model represents only one understanding of desire (distinct from the "recognition of reasons") his specific arguments cannot establish his stated general thesis. I show how a more robust conception of desire will leave the Humean account safe from Scanlon's specific arguments. (shrink)
This collection brings together essays which reflect on the detailed arguments of "What We Owe to Each Other", and which comment critically both on Scanlon's contractualism and his revised understandings of motivation and morality. The essays illustrate the uses of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to moral and political problems and in so doing they provide an assessment of the ability of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to other forms of ethical theory. So, the central questions are: (...) "What is the best interpretation of the theory advanced in "'What We Owe to Each Other?'"; "How does the theory, so interpreted, stand up to criticism?"; and "How does contractualism handle certain difficult problems in politics and ethics?". To answer these questions, the collection includes the work of distinguished political philosophers. The resulting volume will make an important and original contribution to the literature on Scanlon, on contractualism and on contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
This article offers a critique of Thomas Scanlon's well-known account of promissory obligation by reference to the rights of promisees. Scanlon's account invokes a moral principle, the "principle of fidelity". Now, corresponding to a promisor's obligation to perform is a promisee's right to performance. It is argued that one cannot account for this right in terms of Scanlon's principle. This is so in spite of a clause in the principle relating to the promisee's "consent", which might have (...) been thought to do the trick. Most likely this argument can be applied to all "moral principle" accounts of promissory obligation. An alternative both to these and to "social practice" accounts is needed. (shrink)
In this review of Christopher Winch's new book, Education, Autonomy and Critical Thinking (2006), I discuss its main theses, supporting some and criticising others. In particular, I take issue with several of Winch's claims and arguments concerning critical thinking and rationality, and deplore his reliance on what I suggest are problematic strains of the later Wittgenstein. But these criticisms are not such as to upend Winch's powerful critique of antiperfectionism and 'strong autonomy' or his defence of 'weak autonomy'. His (...) account of autonomy as an educational aim is important and in several respects compelling. (shrink)
This paper is a short review of T.M. Scanlon's book What We Owe to Each Other. The book itself is already a philosophical classic. It defence a contractualist ethical theory but also has many interesting things to say about reasons, value, well-being, promises, relativism, and so on.
Roger Crisp has inspired two important criticisms of Scanlon's buck-passing account of value. I defend buck-passing from the wrong kind of reasons criticism, and the reasons and the good objection. I support Rabinowicz and Rønnow-Rasmussen's dual role of reasons in refuting the wrong kind of reasons criticism, even where its authors claim it fails. Crisp's reasons and the good objection contends that the property of goodness is buck-passing in virtue of its formality. I argue that Crisp conflates general and (...) formal properties, and that Scanlon is ambiguous about whether the formal property of a reason can stop the buck. Drawing from Wallace, I respond to Crisp's reasons and the good objection by developing an augmented buck-passing account of reasons and value, where the buck is passed consistently from the formal properties of both to the substantive properties of considerations and evaluative attitudes. I end by describing two unresolved problems for buck-passers. (shrink)
Scanlon suggests a buck-passing account of goodness. To say that something is good is not to give a reason to, say, favour it; rather it is to say that there are such reasons. When it comes to wrongness, however, Scanlon rejects a buck-passing account: to say that j ing is wrong is, on his view, to give a sufficient moral reason not to j. Philip Stratton-Lake 2003 argues that Scanlon can evade a redundancy objection against his ( (...) class='Hi'>Scanlon’s) view of wrongness by adopting a buck-passing account of wrongness. We argue that this manoeuvre does not succeed. Scanlon’s notion of wrongness rests on the idea of a reasonably rejectable principle. As Stratton-Lake points out, Scanlon offers two accounts, one in terms of permission, the other in terms of proscription. The permission account is tricky to formulate. Scanlon’s account (quoted in Stratton-Lake 2003: 71) might suggest any of the following four formulations (where the principles in question are principles ‘governing how one may act’ (Scanlon.. (shrink)
Responding to criticisms raised by Christopher Norris, this paper defends an anti-relativist reading of the work of both Davidson and Heidegger arguing that that there are important lessons to be learnt from their example - one can thus be an anti-relativist (as well as a certain sort of realist) without giving up on Davidson or on Heidegger.
In this book, Christopher Peacocke proposes a general theory about what it is for a thinker to be entitled to form a given belief. This theory is distinctively rationalist: that is, it gives a large role to the a priori, while insisting that the propositions or contents that can be known a priori are not in any way “true in virtue of meaning” (and without in any other way denigrating these propositions as “trivial”, or as propositions that “tell us (...) nothing about the world”, or the like). Peacocke then applies this theory to several classical problems in epistemology — to the problem of how our sensory experiences can entitle us to form beliefs about the external world, to the problem of induction, and to the problem of what entitles us to form moral beliefs. (shrink)
Christopher Bennett has argued that state support of conjugal relationships can be founded on the unique contribution such relationships make to the autonomy of their participants by providing them with various forms of recognition and support unavailable elsewhere. I argue that, in part because a long history of interaction between two people who need each other’s validation tends to produce less meaningful responses over time, long-term conjugal relationships are unlikely to provide autonomy-enhancing support to their participants. To the extent (...) that intimate relationships can provide a unique form of reciprocal support, Bennett fails to show that couples have an advantage over multiple-partner arrangements in doing so. (shrink)
This article examines the character of Scanlon’s contractualism as presented in What We Owe to Each Other . I offer a range of reasons for thinking of Scanlon’s contractualism as a species of natural rights theorizing. I argue that to affirm the principle that actions are wrongful if and only if they are disallowed by principles that people could not reasonably reject is equivalent to affirming a natural right (of an admittedly non-standard sort) against being subject to such (...) reasonably disallowed actions. I argue that Scanlon’s invocation of the value of human life can be seen as an attempted grounding for this principle that is akin to standard natural rights attempts to ground fundamental rights. Lastly, I argue that the invocation of the value of human life does not in fact well support the sort of requirement of justifiability to others that characterizes this contractualist variant on natural rights theorizing; if anything, it better supports the sort of ascriptions of rights characteristic of traditional natural rights theorizing. Key Words: contractualism • natural rights • justifiability to others • wrongfulness. (shrink)
I distinguish several arguments Kamm and Scanlon make against Taurek's claim that it is permissible to save smaller groups of people rather than larger. I then argue that none succeeds. This is a companion to my "Saving the Few.".
In recent work, T.M. Scanlon has unsuccessfully challenged the doctrine of double effect (DDE). First, comparing actions reflecting faulty moral deliberations and involving merely foreseen harm with actions reflecting less faulty moral deliberations involving intended harm suggests that proponents of DDE do not confuse the critical and the deliberative uses of moral principles. Second, Scanlon submits that it is odd to say to a deliberating agent that the permissibility of the actions she ponders depends on the intention with (...) which she will act. I argue that this can be explained without appeal to the claim that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility. (shrink)
According to one formulation of Scanlon’s contractualist principle, certain acts are wrong if they are permitted by principles that are reasonably rejectable because they permit such acts. According to the redundancy objection, if a principle is reasonably rejectable because it permits actions which have feature F, such actions are wrong simply in virtue of having F and not because their having F makes principles permitting them reasonably rejectable. Consequently Scanlon’s contractualist principle adds nothing to the reasons we have (...) not to act wrongly and is redundant. (shrink)
I offer a reading of the first clause of T. M. Scanlon's principle of fidelity to assurances. A circularity problem is created by his way of differentiating promises from other assurances which comply with this principle. When the clause is read in the way here proposed, all assurances complying with the principle are promises, and so this problem no longer arises.
In his contribution, “Critical Investments: AIDS, Christopher Reeve, and Queer/Disability Studies,” Robert McRuer calls for the recognition of the points of convergence between AIDS theory, queer theory, and disability theory. McRuer points out ways in which minority identity groups such as people with AIDS, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, and those with so-called disabilities, whose status has been described by others as “impaired,” have resisted this judgment by calling its ideological underpinnings into question. He contends that a critical alliance between (...) AIDS theory, queer theory, and disability theory will ultimately help us to realize the full range of different kinds of bodies and corporeal experiences, while also combating the application of normativizing judgments. (shrink)
In his recent book, Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus, Christopher Brown has argued that the metaphysics of St. Thomas is preferable to contemporary analyticviews because it can solve the “problem of material constitution” (PMC) without requiring us to relinquish any of the common-sense beliefs that generate that problem. In this critical study, I show that in the case of both substances and aggregates, Brown’s Aquinas endorses views that are extremely implausible. Consequently, even if it is granted that the (...) solutions to the PMC fall right out of his views, it is still not clear that this gives us reason to prefer his ontology to its competitors. I also consider Brown’s take on the status of the human being after death. (shrink)
D. Christopher Ralston; Justin Ho (Eds.): Philosophical Reflections on Disability Content Type Journal Article Pages 247-249 DOI 10.1007/s10677-010-9237-8 Authors Franziska Felder, Ethikzentrum der Universität Zürich, Graduiertenprogramm für Interdisziplinäre Ethikforschung, Zollikerstrasse 115, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 2.
Decisions to use antibiotics require that patient interests are balanced against the public good, that is, control of antibiotic resistance. Patients carry the risks of suboptimal antibiotic treatment and many physicians are reluctant to impose even small avoidable risks on patients. At the same time, antibiotics are overused and antibiotic-resistant microbes are contributing an increasing burden of adverse patient outcomes. It is the criteria that we can use to reject the use of antibiotics that is the focus of this paper. (...)Scanlon's contractualism explains why antibiotics should not be used to gain small benefits, even when the direct costs of antibiotics are low. We know that some individuals now (and probably more in the future will) carry a burden of irretrievable harm as a consequence of treatment- (antibiotic-) resistant infection. If we accept that the dominant justification for use of antibiotics is to prevent irretrievable harm to an individual or contact, then the use of antibiotics for self-limiting conditions, or for the treatment of individuals with conditions for which antibiotics do not substantially impact on outcomes (eg, in the latter stages of terminal illness), or for access based on preference or willingness to pay (internet or over-the-counter access), or the use of antibiotics as animal growth promoters can be rejected. Scanlon's approach also suggests that, with few new antibiotics in the pipeline and an increasing burden of disease attributable to resistant microbes, control of the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes should be given increasing priority. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke has presented an original version of the perennial philosophical thesis that we can gain substantive metaphysical and epistemological insight from an analysis of our concepts. Peacocke's innovation is to look at how concepts are individuated by their possession conditions, which he believes can be specified in terms of conditions in which certain propositions containing those concepts are accepted. The ability to provide such insight is one of Peacocke's major arguments for his theory of concepts. I will critically (...) examine this "fruitfulness" argument by looking at one philosophical problem Peacocke uses his theory to solve and treats in depth. Peacocke (1999, 2001) defines what he calls the "Integration Challenge." The challenge is to integrate our metaphysics with our epistemology by showing that they are mutually acceptable. Peacocke's key conclusion is that the Integration Challenge can be met for "epistemically individuated concepts." A good theory of content, he believes, will close the apparent gap between an account of truth for any given subject matter and an overall account of knowledge. I shall argue that there are no epistemically individuated concepts, and shall critically analyze Peacocke's arguments for their existence. I will suggest more generally that the possession conditions of concepts and their principles of individuation shed little light on the epistemology or metaphysics of things other than concepts. My broader goal is to shed light on what concepts are by showing that they are more fundamental than the sorts of cognitive and epistemic factors a leading theory uses to define them. (shrink)
A notable achievement of T.M. Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other is its sustained critique of welfarist consequentialism. Consequentialism is the doctrine that one morally ought always to do an act, of the alternatives, that brings about a state of affairs that is no less good than any other one could bring about. Welfarism is the view that what makes a state of affairs better or worse is some increasing function of the welfare for persons realized in it. (...) I shall argue that Scanlon’s critique, though containing much of interest, fails on its own terms. (shrink)
According to one formulation of <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span>’s contractualist principle, certain acts are wrong if they are permitted by principles that are reasonably rejectable because they permit such acts. According to the redundancy objection, if a principle is reasonably rejectable because it permits actions which have feature F, such actions are wrong simply in virtue of having F and not because their having F makes principles permitting them reasonably rejectable. Consequently <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span>’s contractualist principle adds nothing to the reasons (...) we have not to act wrongly and is redundant. In ‘<span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span>’s contractualism and the redundancy objection’ I argued that the redundancy objection is based upon the false assumption that <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span> regards his contractualist principle as a ground of moral wrongness – that is, as telling us what makes certain acts wrong. I pointed out that he does not regard his principle in this way, but regards it as telling us what moral wrongness is. So the redundancy objection is based on a mistake. Nonetheless, <span class='Hi'>Scanlon</span> is still vulnerable to a version of this objection because he regards the moral wrongness of j ing as a reason not to j. Given that he identiﬁes the fact that j ing is wrong with the fact that j ing is permitted by a reasonably rejectable principle, he is committed to the view that his contractualist principle gives us a reason not to j. His critics can thus still insist that the only reason we have not to do such acts is provided.. (shrink)