The maxim “parents should do what is in the best interests of their child” seems like an unassailable truth, and yet, as I argue here, there are serious problems with it when it is taken seriously. One problem concerns the sort of demands such a principle places on parents; the other concerns its larger social implications when conceived as part of a national policy for the rearing of children. The theory of parenting that creates these problems I call “optimizing parentalism.” (...) To avoid them, I define and defend a new and more morally appealing theory, “satisficing parentalism.”. (shrink)
What is a disability? What sorts of limitations do persons with disabilities or impairments experience? What is there about having a disability or impairment that makes it disadvantageous for the individuals with it? Are persons with severe cognitive impairments capable of making autonomous decisions? What role should disability play in the construction of theories of justice? Is it ever ethical for parents to seek to create a child with an impairment? This anthology addresses these and other questions and is a (...) valuable addition to a growing interdisciplinary literature exploring issues at the intersection of disability studies, philosophy, and bioethics. Most of the authors are well-known from their previous work in the disability field and have already made significant philosophical contributions to it. (shrink)
Abstract: Forgiveness of wrongdoing in response to public apology and amends making seems, on the face of it, to leave little room for the continued commemoration of wrongdoing. This rests on a misunderstanding of forgiveness, however, and we can explain why there need be no incompatibility between them. To do this, I emphasize the role of what I call nonangry negative moral emotions in constituting memories of wrongdoing. Memories so constituted can persist after forgiveness and have important moral functions, and (...) commemorations can elicit these emotions to preserve memories of this sort. Moreover, commemorations can be a restorative justice practice that promotes reconciliation, but only on condition that the memories they preserve are constituted by nonangry negative, not retributive, emotions. (shrink)
In this paper, we critically appraise institutions for people with disabilities, from residential facilities to outpatient clinics to social organizations. While recognizing that a just and inclusive society would reject virtually all segregated institutional arrangements, we argue that in contemporary American society, some people with disabilities may have needs that at this time can best be met by institutional arrangements. We propose ways of reforming institutions to make them less isolating, coercive, and stigmatizing, and to provide forms of social support (...) the larger society denies many people with disabilities. Although these reforms far fall far short of abolition, they draw heavily on the work of disability scholars and advocates who call for the complete replacement of institutional arrangements with systems of supported living. The consideration of non-ideal-solutions is useful not only in reforming existing institutional arrangements, but in bringing disability scholarship and advocacy to bear on bioethics, which has paid little attention to institutions for people with disabilities. We intend this paper to redress the neglect within mainstream bioethics of the complex ethical problems posed by institutions. (shrink)
There is considerable contemporary interest in memory, both within the academy and in the public sphere. Little has been written by moral philosophers on the subject, however. In this timely book, Jeffrey Blustein explores the moral aspects and implications of memory, both personal and collective. He provides a systematic and philosophically rigorous account of a morality of memory, focusing on the value of memory, its relationship to identity, and the responsibilities associated with memory.
: Urban bioethics seeks to broaden the traditional focus of bioethics to encompass questions about the interplay of individuals with family, group, community, and society. Urban bioethics will need to deal with cultural diversity, issues of equity, and the conflict between individual rights and the public good. Encouraging a multicultural ethical discernment, fostering an appreciation of the political, economic, sociological, and psychological issues that inform the question of urban moral choice, urban bioethics is essentially a multi-disciplinary, synthesizing enterprise. Several theoretical (...) models including social contract, rule utilitarian, communitarian, and feminist paradigms offer complementary conceptual frameworks. This paper is offered as a proposal, a road map for future study to place current bioethical analysis into a broader context. (shrink)
This essay is written in the belief that questions relating to the treatment of impaired and imperiled newborns cannot be adequately resolved in the absence of a general moral theory of parent-child relations. The rationale for treatment decisions in these cases should be consistent with principles that ought to govern the normal work of parenting. The first section of this paper briefly examines the social contract theory elaborated by John Rawls in his renowned book A Theory of Justice and extracts (...) from it normative principles that can guide us in our attempt to lay a rational foundation for parenthood. The second section clarifies the implications of a Rawlsian theory for the problem at hand by examining several standards that have been proposed for the treatment of impaired newborns: the strict right-to-life standard, the medical decision standard, and the quality-of-life standard. A Rawlsian standard, by contrast, is autonomy-based. That is, it would have us base our treatment decisions on consideration of the child's capacity for developing critical rationality in making decisions on his or her own. This standard, it is suggested, avoids morally objectionable features of the others. (shrink)