Life insurance settlements, or life settlements, are life insurance policies owned by investor-beneficiaries on the lives of unrelated individuals. With life settlements, investors make substantial payments to the insured individuals upon purchasing such policies, pay any remaining premiums, and collect the death benefits upon the demise of the insured individuals. Transactions involving life settlements seem poised to become a major source of profits for investment banks, comparable in dollar amount to subprime mortgages. With life settlements, the insured individuals suffer no (...) immediate harm, and the sale of a policy an individual owns is permissible under current law. Nevertheless, moral questions can be posed about the social values expressed by these practices, the effect of these practices on the virtue of charity, and the overall loss of social utility that will result from life settlements. We consider life settlements from utilitarian and libertarian perspectives, and then consider the effects of life settlements on social values and on individual character. On balance, we favor legislative changes in insurance and tax laws to discourage life settlements, and argue that certain forms of life settlements should be banned outright. (shrink)
COLI – company owned life insurance – is often purchased by firms on employees in whom the firm has no demonstrable insurable interest. Though no immediate harm comes to individuals insured in this way, purchasing such policies raises moral questions. From a Kantian framework, questions arise about reciprocity and fairness, the deception of employees, the generation of mistrust, and the use of the employee’s life as a means to profit. No compensating social good is served by the sale of these (...) policies. (shrink)
In the Arena Chapel in Padua, Giotto painted seven allegorical representations of virtues and seven allegorical representations of vices. This article probes the sources for the list of virtues and the list of vices. The ensemble of virtues can be located in St. Thomas Aquinas; the ensemble of the vices, however, is original. The result is a new account of vices that displaces the odler account of the “seven deadly sins.”.
Philosophers have developed various systems of individuation for handling questions of identity regarding works of art. But even a casual survey of different arts reveals that questions of individuation in one art form are markedly different from questions of individuation in another. Though distinctively philosophical concepts can go a short way in clarifying these issues, it is hardly likely that any single philosophical system can do justice to them all.
This essay distinguishes personal from generic fame and accurate from inaccurate fame, and claims that only accurate personal fame could possess intrinsic value. Nevertheless, three common arguments why accurate personal fame might possess intrinsic value are shown to be unsound. After rejecting two Aristotelian arguments to the effect that no sort of fame possesses value, the author suggests that fame is valueless if one assumes a modern axiology in which the good life consists of self-regulation and self-expression.
This paper argues that there is a conflict between divine omniscience and the human right to privacy. The right to privacy derives from the right to moral autonomy, which human persons possess even against a divine being. It follows that if God exists and persists in knowing all things, his knowledge is a non-justifiable violation of a human right. On the other hand, if God exists and restricts his knowing in deference to human privacy, it follows that he cannot fulfill (...) the traditional function of being the perfect and final judge of all things. (shrink)