The Dutch health care system is developing a two, or multiple, tier system. How can moral principles be of help in assessing whether this is the right track? Instead of dismissing as unhelpful the principles that have been suggested so far and exchanging them for other, usually more complex, principles, it is suggested that the methods of moral inquiry be reconsidered. Keywords: diversification in health care, health care financing, public and private responsibility in health care CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
In his article 'Specifying, balancing and interpreting bioethical principles' (Richardson, 2000), Henry Richardson claims that the two dominant theories in bioethics - principlism, put forward by Beauchamp and Childress in Principles of Bioethics , and common morality, put forward by Gert, Culver and Clouser in Bioethics: A Return to Fundamentals - are deficient because they employ balancing rather than specification to resolve disputes between principles or rules. We show that, contrary to Richardson's claim, the major problem with principlism, either the (...) original version, or the specified principlism of Richardson, is that it conceives of morality as being composed of free-standing principles, rather than as common morality conceives it, as being a complete public system, composed of rules, ideals, morally relevant features, and a procedure for determining when a rule can be justifiably violated. (shrink)
Moral problems do not always come in the form of great social controversies. More often, the moral decisions we make are made quietly, constantly, and within the context of everyday activities and quotidian dilemmas. Indeed, these smaller decisions are based on a moral foundation that few of us ever stop to think about but which guides our every action. Here distinguished philosopher Bernard Gert presents a clear and concise introduction to what he calls "common morality" -- the moral system that (...) most thoughtful people implicitly use when making everyday, common sense moral decisions and judgments. Common Morality is useful in that -- while not resolving every disagreement on controversial issues -- it is able to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable answers to moral problems. In the first part of the book Gert lays out the fundamental features of common morality: moral rules, moral ideals, and a two-step procedure for determining when a violation of a moral rule is justified. Written in a non-technical style, the ten general moral rules include rules on which everyone can agree, such as "do not kill," "do not deceive," and "keep your promises." The moral ideals include similarly uncontroversial precepts such as "Relieve pain" and "Aid the needy." In the second part of the book Gert examines the underlying concepts that justify common morality, such as the notions of rationality and impartiality. The distillation of over 40 years of scholarship, this book is the most accessible version of Gert's influential theory of morality as well as an eye-opening look at the moral foundations of our everyday actions. Throughout the discussion is clear enough for a reader with little or no philosophy background. (shrink)
This book offers the fullest and most sophisticated account of Gert's influential moral theory, a model first articulated in the classic work The Moral Rules: A New Rational Foundation for Morality, published in 1970. In this final revision, Gert makes clear that the moral rules are only one part of an informal system that does not provide unique answers to every moral question but does always provide a range of morally acceptable options. A new chapter on reasons includes an account (...) of what makes one reason better than another and a second new chapter is devoted to the question of justifying violations of the rules. Moral impartiality, the moral ideals, and virtue and vice, are all treated in greater detail. Throughout, Gert attempts to answer all of the challenges that his work has provoked. (shrink)
Joshua Gert presents a new account of normative practical reasons and the way in which they contribute to the rationality of action. He argues that, rather than simply "counting in favor of" action, normative reasons play two logically distinct roles--that of requiring action and that of justifying action. Gert's book will appeal to a range of readers interested in practical reasoning in particular, and moral theory more generally.
An updated and expanded successor to Culver and Gert's Philosophy in Medicine, this book integrates moral philosophy with clinical medicine to present a comprehensive summary of the theory, concepts, and lines of reasoning underlying the ...
This volume is a revised, enlarged, and broadened version of Gert's classic 1970 book, The Moral Rules. Advocating an approach he terms "morality as impartial rationality," Gert here presents a full discussion of his moral theory, adding a wealth of new illuminating detail to his analysis of the concepts--rationality/irrationality, good/evil, and impartiality--by which he defines morality. He constructs a "moral system" that includes rules prohibiting the kinds of actions that cause evil, procedures for determining when violation of the rules is (...) permitted, and ideals which encourage actions that prevent or relieve suffering. To be valid, Gert argues, any such system must be "a public system that applies to all rational persons." The book concludes with a discussion of medical ethics, demonstrating the link between moral theory and its application to real moral problems. (shrink)
Although it goes against a widespread significant misunderstanding of his view, Michael Smith is one of the very few moral philosophers who explicitly wants to allow for the commonsense claim that, while morally required action is always favored by some reason, selfish and immoral action can also be rationally permissible. One point of this paper is to make it clear that this is indeed Smith’s view. It is a further point to show that his way of accommodating this claim is (...) inconsistent with his well-known “practicality requirement” on moral judgments: the thesis that any rational person will always have at least some motivation to do what she judges to be right. The general conclusion is that no view that, like Smith’s, associates the normative strength of a reason with the motivational strength of an ideal desire will allow for the wide range of rational permissibility that Smith wants to capture. (shrink)
Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have recently presented a series of papers in which they argue against what has come to be called the ‘new wave’ moral realism and moral semantics of David Brink, Richard Boyd, Peter Railton, and a number of other philosophers. The central idea behind Horgan and Timmons’s criticism of these ‘new wave’ theories has been extended by Sean Holland to include the sort of realism that drops out of response-dependent accounts that make use of an analogy (...) between moral properties and secondary qualities. This paper argues that Holland’s extension depends crucially on the fact that his target is a direct response-dependent account of moral value. His argument does not work against such accounts of more basic normative notions such as ‘harm’ or ‘benefit’. And these more basic notions may then serve as the basic normative building blocks for an indirectly response-dependent moral theory. (shrink)
Jason Stanley has criticized a contextualist solution to the sorites paradox that treats vagueness as a kind of indexicality. His objection rests on a feature of indexicals that seems plausible: that their reference remains fixed in verb phrase ellipsis. But the force of Stanley’s criticism depends on the undefended assumption that vague terms, if they are a special sort of indexical, must function in the same way that more paradigmatic indexicals do. This paper argues that there can be more than (...) one sort of indexicality, that one term might easily have both sorts, and that therefore, and despite Stanley’s worries, vagueness might easily be assimilated to one form. (shrink)
Whether or not one endorses realism about colour, it is very tempting to regard realism about determinable colours such as green and yellow as standing or falling together with realism about determinate colours such as unique green or green31. Indeed some of the most prominent representatives of both sides of the colour realism debate explicitly endorse the idea that these two kinds of realism are so linked. Against such theorists, the present paper argues that one can be a realist about (...) the determinable colours of objects, and thus hold that most of the colour ascriptions made by competent speakers are literally true, while denying that there are any positive facts of the matter as to the determinate colours of objects. The result is a realistic colour realism that can certify most of our everyday colour ascriptions as literally correct, while acknowledging the data regarding individual variation. (shrink)
Many contemporary accounts of normative reasons for action accord a single strength value to normative reasons. This paper first uses some examples to argue against such views by showing that they seem to commit us to intransitive or counterintuitive claims about the rough equivalence of the strengths of certain reasons. The paper then explains and defends an alternate account according to which normative reasons for action have two separable dimensions of strength: requiring strength, and justifying strength. Such an account explains (...) our intuitions in the cases that make trouble for single-value views. The justifying/requiring account is compared with two other solutions that have been offered to justify and explain our intuitions about these sorts of cases. These other solutions appeal to the notions of incommensurability of reasons, and to second-order normative entities called `exclusionary permissions'. It is argued that the justifying/requiring distinction provides a superior solution. (shrink)
One strategy for providing an analysis of practical rationality is to start with the notion of a practical reason as primitive. Then it will be quite tempting to think that the rationality of an action can be defined rather simply in terms of ‘the balance of reasons’. But just as, for many philosophical purposes, it is extremely useful to identify the meaning of a word in terms of the systematic contribution the word makes to the meanings of whole sentences, this (...) paper argues that it is extremely useful to explain the nature of practical reasons in terms of the systematic contributions that such reasons make to the wholesale rational statuses of actions. This strategy gives us a clear view of two logically distinct normative roles for practical reasons – justifying and requiring – that are often conflated, and it allows us to give clear definitions of what ‘the strength of a reason’ means within each of these roles. The final section of the paper explores some implications of the resulting view for the internalism/externalism debate about practical reasons, and for the practical significance of moral theory. (shrink)
In §66 ofPhilosophical Investigations Wittgenstein looks for something common to various games and finds only an interconnecting network of resemblances. These are family resemblances. Sympathetic as well as unsympathetic readers have interpreted him as claiming that games form a family in virtue of these resemblances. This assumes Wittgenstein inverted the relation between being a member of a family and bearing family resemblances to others of that family. (The Churchills bear family resemblances to one another because they belong to the same (...) family, they don't belong to the same family because they resemble one another.) A close reading ofInvestigations gives no evidence that Wittgenstein made this mistake. Rather, family resemblances may play a role like the one criteria play for psychological terms. They give excellent but fallible evidence for membership in the extensions of some terms. (shrink)
This paper offers one formal reason why it may often be inappropriate to hold, of two conflicting desires, that the first must be weaker than, stronger than, or of the same strength as the second. The explanation of this fact does not rely on vagueness or epistemological problems in determining the strengths of desires. Nor does it make use of the problematic notion of incommensurability. Rather, the suggestion is that the motivational capacities of many desires might best be characterized by (...) two values, neither of which should be interpreted as strength. (shrink)
In her later writings Jean Hampton develops an expressive theory of punishment she takes to be retributivist. Unlike Feinberg, Hampton claims wrongdoings as well as punishments are expressive. Wrongdoings assert that the victim is less valuable than victimizer. On her view we are obligated to punish because we are obligated to respond to this false assertion. Punishment expresses the moral truth that victim and wrongdoer are equally valuable. We argue that Hampton's argument would work only if she held that exerting (...) power over another provides evidence (albeit defeasible) of one's greater value. This is clearly a premise that neither she nor her readers are likely to accept. (shrink)
This article shows how common morality can be helpful in clarifying the discussion of ethical issues that arise in computing. Since common morality does not always provide unique answers to moral questions, not all such issues can be resolved, however common morality does provide a clear answer to the question whether one can illegally copy software for a friend.
The distinction between moral rules and moral ideals is presented and explained in various ways. The authors propose that people in business are required to obey the moral rules and have a choice with respect to ideals. Thus, they are not in a different position from that of anyone else in society.Four case studies are presented and discussed. The analytical approaches used by the authors' students are summarized and evaluated. The moral rules/ideals paradigm is described as helping discussants of the (...) cases to establish congruence between business ethics and their personal set of values. Other values of the classroom discussion of ethics cases are considered. (shrink)
Over-simple internalist accounts of practical reasons imply that we cannot have reasons to become more rational, because they claim that we have a reason to φ only if we would have some desire to φ if we were fully rational. But if we were fully rational, we would have no desire to become more rational. Robert Johnson has recently argued that in their attempts to avoid this problem, existing versions of internalism yield reasons which do not have an appropriate connection (...) with potential explanations of action. I suggest that the problem is partly a result of failure to see that action-tokens are usually tokens of a wide variety of action-types, and that the internalist conditional need only be true of one of these types in order to justify a reason claim about the token. (shrink)
In his article, Are Virtues No More than Dispositions to Obey Moral Rules (Philosophia, Vol. 20, Nos. 1-2 (July 1990), pp. 195-207), Walter E. Schaller lists three theses that he characterizes as the Standard View of the connection between the virtues and the moral rules and criticizes me for holding two of them. I show that this claim ignores my distinction between moral rules and moral ideals and involves a widespread misunderstanding of what is meant by moral rules.