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Profile: Jakob Elster (University of Oslo)
  1. Jakob Elster (2012). Scanlon on Permissibility and Double Effect. Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (1):75-102.
    In his book Moral Dimensions. Permissibility, Meaning, Blame , T.M. Scanlon proposes a new account of permissibility, and argues, against the doctrine of double effect (DDE), that intentions do not matter for permissibility. I argue that Scanlon's account of permissibility as based on what the agent should have known at the time of action does not sufficiently take into account Scanlon's own emphasis on permissibility as a question for the deliberating agent. A proper account of permissibility, based on the agent's (...)
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  2. Jakob Elster (2011). How Outlandish Can Imaginary Cases Be? Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (3):241-258.
    It is common in moral philosophy to test the validity of moral principles by proposing counter-examples in the form of cases where the application of the principle does not give the conclusion we intuitively find valid. These cases are often imaginary and sometimes rather ‘outlandish’, involving ray guns, non-existent creatures, etc. I discuss whether we can test moral principles with the help of outlandish cases, or if only realistic cases are admissible. I consider two types of argument against outlandish cases: (...)
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  3. Jakob Elster (2011). Procreative Beneficence – Cui Bono? Bioethics 25 (9):482-488.
    Recently, Julian Savulescu and Guy Kahane have defended the Principle of Procreative Beneficence (PB), according to which prospective parents ought to select children with the view that their future child has ‘the best chance of the best life’. I argue that the arguments Savulescu and Kahane adduce in favour of PB equally well support what I call the Principle of General Procreative Beneficence (GPB). GPB states that couples ought to select children in view of maximizing the overall expected value in (...)
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  4. Jakob Elster (2007). Wrongful Life, Suicide, and Euthanasia. Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (Supplement):273-282.
    “Wrongful life” claims are made by persons born with a disease to the effect that they should not have been born. I ask whether we can say that if someone claims that he would have been better off if he were not born, he would be better off if he died. I examine the relationship between the following propositions:(1) It would have been better for me if I were not born.(2) My life (as a whole) is not worth living.(3) It (...)
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