John Finnis is a pre-eminent legal, moral and political philosopher. This volume contains over 25 essays by leading international scholars of philosophy and law who critically engage with issues at the heart of Finnis's work.
Battin et al examined data on deaths from physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in Oregon and on PAS and voluntary euthanasia (VE) in The Netherlands. This paper reviews the methodology used in their examination and questions the conclusions drawn from it—namely, that there is for the most part ‘no evidence of heightened risk’ to vulnerable people from the legalisation of PAS or VE. This critique focuses on the evidence about PAS in Oregon. It suggests that vulnerability to PAS cannot be categorised simply (...) by reference to race, gender or other socioeconomic status and that the impetus to seek PAS derives from factors, including emotional state, reactions to loss, personality type and situation and possibly to PAS contagion, all factors that apply across the social spectrum. It also argues, on the basis of official reports from the Oregon Health Department on the working of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act since 2008, that, contrary to the conclusions drawn by Battin et al, the highest resort to PAS in Oregon is among the elderly and, on the basis of research published since Battin et al reported, that there is reason to believe that some terminally ill patients in Oregon are taking their own lives with lethal drugs supplied by doctors despite having had depression at the time when they were assessed and cleared for PAS. (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)
After a discourse about the literature on visual acuity before Hume, I discuss how the “size” of visual objects is defi ned and determined. I shall thenpresent circumstantial, but commanding, evidence for the infl uence of James Jurin’s Essay upon Distinct and Indistinct Vision on Hume’s thought. This workcontains well-supported findings incompatible with claims made in T 1.2, “Of the ideas of space and time,” and elsewhere. Specifically, the prominentprinciple of the Treatise, “[w]hat consists of parts is distinguishable into them, (...) and what is distinguishable is separable” (T 184.108.40.206; SBN 27) is shown to befalse. A powerful principle, it is a premise to the most important arguments of the Treatise, but is shunned in the Enquiry and later writings because, I believe,Hume had read Jurin. (shrink)
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)
Van Cleve (and J.H. Lambert) argued that if our\nrepresentations change, then time is real. Hence, the\nKantian Analogies presuppose what they mean to prove. Not\nso. For Kant and the common understanding time is a serial\norder that neither loops nor branches and stretches of time\nhave different lengths. The mere change in our\nrepresentations does not by itself provide for duration or\nconnectedness (absence of branching). Rather, the former\nneeds external enduring substances, while causal\nconnections are required to establish connectedness.\nReference is made to Carnap, The Logical Structure (...) of the\nWorld, sects. 87, 120, 171. (shrink)
In Making Men Moral, his 1995 book, George questioned the central doctrines of liberal jurisprudence and political theory. In his new work he extends his critique of liberalism, and also goes beyond it to show how contemporary natural law theory provides a superior way of thinking about basic problems of justice and political morality. It is written with the same combination of stylistic elegance and analytical rigour that distinguished his critical work. Not content merely to defend natural law from its (...) cultural despisers; he deftly turns the tables and deploys the idea to mount a stunning attack on regnant liberal beliefs about such issues as abortion, sexuality, and the place of religion in public life. Students as well as scholars in law, political science, and philosophy will find George's arguments stimulating, challenging, and compelling. (shrink)
Most of the Bolzano literature is exegetical, neglecting, unfortunately, the great potential of his logic as the beginning of a PROGRAMME. Specifically, his unorthodox construai of the consequence relation as triadic, and his account of logical form are promising beginnings which even as they stand shed light on question of relevance, the ancient problems of enthymemes and others. Instead of developing these suggestions, Bolzano scholars have been occupied with elucidating the ontology of sentences in themselves, and related topics. I argue, (...) and believe to be in agreement with Bolzano, that the nature of sentences is fully explained by the relations that hold between them, just as money has no nature or essence beyond the transactions it makes possible. It follows that the development of his logic would contribute at least as much to the understanding of sentences than any exegesis. (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.
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.
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 authors describe the ethical considerations underlying the inclusion of mental health services into a prioritizedhealth care system. The Oregon Health Plan is a process for defining and delivering basic health services to an entire state. As the plan was developed, the mental health community needed to decide whether or not to participate in the process and, if so, how. Lengthy discussions among mental health consumers, family members, and providers led to a strategy that emphasized the integration of mental health (...) and chemical dependency services into a comprehensive and universal health care program. This approach appears to have achieved relative parity for mental health. (shrink)
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)