According to Carson Strong, the future of value account of the wrongness of killing is subject to counterexamples. Ezio Di Nucci has disagreed. Their disagreement turns on whether the concepts of a future of value and a future like ours are equivalent. Unfortunately, both concepts are fuzzy, which explains, at least in part, the disagreement. I suggest that both concepts can be clarified in ways that seem plausible and that makes them equivalent. Strong claims that better accounts of the wrongness (...) of killing exist. I show that those alternative accounts are unsatisfactory. (shrink)
Recent discussions of the doctrine of double effect have contained improved versions of the doctrine not subject to some of the difficulties of earlier versions. There is no longer one doctrine of double effect. This essay evaluates four versions of the doctrine: two formulations of the traditional Catholic doctrine, Joseph Boyle's revision of that doctrine, and Warren Quinn's version of the doctrine. I conclude that all of these versions are flawed. Keywords: double effect, intention, Joseph Boyle, medical ethics, Warren Quinn (...) CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The surgical treatment of breast cancer has changed in recent years. Analysis of the research that led to these changes yields apparently good arguments for all of the following: (1) The research yielded very great benefits for women. (2) There was no other way of obtaining these benefits. (3) This research violated the fundamental rights of the women who were research subjects. This sets a problem for ethics at many levels.
Conversion of slowly accruing conventionally randomized studies to a prerandomized design has apparently been successful in increasing accrual enough so that some of these studies can be completed. Ellenberg (1984) has pointed out some of the ethical dangers of prerandomization. This paper argues that prerandomization must be either unsuccessful or unethical: either conversion to prerandomization will result in no significant increase in the rate of completion of the study or a significant increase in accrual rate will be achieved either at (...) the price of an inadequate attempt to obtain informed consent, at the price of the deceit of patients, or at the price of violations of patient autonomy. The argument of the paper can be sketched as follows: For any given randomized study, either patients prefer one treatment arm to the other or they do not. On the one hand, if they do, then conventional randomization fails. But prerandomization, if done ethically, will fail also. Hence, if prerandomization succeeds in this sort of case, then the trial has been conducted unethically. On the other hand, if patients do not prefer One arm to the other, then prerandomization will succeed. So will conventional randomization. Hence, prerandomization is either unnecessary or unethical. Ellenberg's concerns count as good moral reasons for not prerandomizing if prerandomization is unnecessary. It follows that prerandomization is always wrong. (shrink)