Can we ever truly answer the question, “Who am I?” Moderated by Alex Voorhoeve (London School of Economics), neuro-philosopher Elie During (University of Paris, Ouest Nanterre), cognitive scientist David Jopling (York University, Canada), social psychologist Timothy Wilson (University of Virginia),and ethicist Frances Kamm (Harvard University) examine the difficulty of achieving genuine self-knowledge and how the pursuit of self-knowledge plays a role in shaping the self.
In this article, I examine several distinctions that may be relevant to the morality (and conceptual characterization) of terrorism: (1) the state/nonstate agent distinction, (2) the combatant/noncombatant distinction, (3) the intention/foresight distinction, (4) the means/side-effect distinction, (5) the interrelated necessary/nonnecessary means and produce/sustain distinctions, (6) the mechanical/nonmechanical use distinction, (7) the military/political distinction, (8) the harm/terror distinction, and (9) the harm-for-terror/terror-for-goal distinction. I conclude that some of these factors (though not those most commonly cited) account for the prima facie wrongness (...) of terrorism and that the nondistinctive properties of terrorism (which it shares with some nonterrorist acts) are what make it most seriously wrong. I also provide a conceptual examination of terrorism as we commonly think of it and its relation to torture. In the course of discussing the distinctions and also in concluding the article, I consider why terrorism may sometimes be morally permissible. (shrink)
This article examines arguments concerning enhancement of human persons recently presented by Michael Sandel (2004). In the first section, I briefly describe some of his arguments. In section two, I consider whether, as Sandel claims, the desire for mastery motivates enhancement and whether such a desire could be grounds for its impermissibility. Section three considers how Sandel draws the distinction between treatment and enhancement, and the relation to nature that he thinks each expresses. The fourth section examines Sandel's views about (...) parent/child relations and also how enhancement would affect distributive justice and the duty to aid. In conclusion, I briefly offer an alternative suggestion as to why enhancement may be troubling and consider what we could safely enhance. (shrink)
In this article I am concerned with whether it could be morally significant to distinguish between doing something 'in order to bring about an effect' as opposed to 'doing something because we will bring about an effect'. For example, the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) tells us that we should not act in order to bring about evil, but even if this is true is it perhaps permissible to act only because an evil will thus occur? I discuss these questions (...) in connection with a version of the so-called Trolley Problem known as the Loop Case. I also consider how these questions may bear on whether a rational agent must aim at an event which he believes is causally necessary to achieve an end he pursues. (shrink)
The Doctrine of Double Effect and the Principle of Do No Harm raise important theoretical and practical issues, some of which are discussed by Boyle, Donagan, and Quinn. I argue that neither principle is correct, and some revisionist, and probably nonabsolutist, analysis of constraints on action and omission is necessary. In making these points, I examine several approaches to deflection of threat cases, discuss an argument for the permissibility of voluntary euthanasia, and present arguments relevant to medical contexts which justify (...) intentionally hanning some to aid others, with and without the consent of those harmed. Keywords: consent, double effect, euthanasia, harming, organ transplantation, scarce resources, trolley problem CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Philosophers may play the role of insider, e.g., serving as advisor to government commissions, or of outsider, commenting on the work of such commissions. Each role may raise dilemmas. It is argued that as insider the philosopher's primary duties should be to clarify and inform, as well as philosophize with the commissioners, and help them stay on a course in which moral considerations are given their proper weight. Fulfilling these duties means that the philosopher will sometimes have to help produce (...) a weaker intellectual document than he would prefer, or lose a chance to directly promote the public good. The insider philosopher will also have to consider whether it is appropriate for a policy proposal from a commission to differ from much current government policy, and how morally appropriate compromise can be reached among commissioners. Given his understanding of how an insider philosopher should function and how commission reports are constructed, the outsider philosopher can comment both on how close a report comes to being perfect of its type, and how far short of an ideal philosophical analysis even a perfect government report is. It may be appropriate for him to give greater weight to the public good, if his comments are very likely to affect it, than the insider philosopher. Examples for discussion are drawn from government reports on organ transplantation, embryo research, terminating care, and compensation for research subjects. Keywords: embryo research, government commissions, moral conflict, moral compromise, organ transplants, philosophers and public policy CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that only a form of philosophizing that sprung from a deep commitment to the subject could ever hope for success. ‘All great problems,’ he wrote, ‘demand great love.’ He continued: It makes the most telling difference whether a thinker has a personal relationship to his problems and finds in them his destiny, his distress, and his greatest happiness, or an ‘impersonal’ one, meaning he is only able to touch them with the antennae of (...) cold, curious thought. In the latter case nothing will come of it, that much can be promised; for even if great problems should let themselves be grasped by them, they would not allow frogs and weaklings to hold on to them. Nietzsche went on to complain that, to his knowledge, no one had yet approached moral philosophy in this way: Why, then, have I never yet encountered anyone, not even in books, who approached morality in this personal way and who knew morality as a problem, and this problem as his own personal distress, torment, voluptuousness, and passion? Alex Voorhoeve run01.tex V1 - 07/29/2009 7:23am Page 16.. (shrink)