Recent philosophical arguments in favor of legal markets in human organs such as kidneys claim that respect for autonomy justifies such markets. I argue that these arguments fail to establish the moral permissibility of commercialized organ sales because they do not show that those most likely to serve as vendors would choose to sell autonomously. Pro-market views utilize hierarchical theories of autonomy to demonstrate that potential organ vendors may autonomously consent to selling their organs even in the absence of any (...) practical alternative to doing so. But central to hierarchical accounts of autonomy is the idea that persons my experience volitional ambivalence, a condition in which the will is irreconcilably conflicted. Because commercialized organ sales would create volitional ambivalence in many of those who opt to sell an organ, the choice to sell an organ would not be an autonomous one. (shrink)
Proactive law enforcement techniques such as sting operations sometimes go too far, resulting in innocent people being "entrapped" into committing crime. Fortunately, the criminal law recognizes entrapment as a defense to a criminal charge. There is, however, much confusion about entrapment. In this paper I argue that this confusion is a result of misunderstanding the _moral status of entrapment. Since all proactive law enforcement violates the autonomy of those subject to it, it undermines moral agency and criminal liability. Although this (...) is sometimes justifiable, proactive law enforcement that does so in a way that constitutes entrapment is not. (shrink)
Over the past decade or so political leaders around the world have begun to apologize for, and even seek reconciliation between perpetrators and victims of large-scale moral wrongs such as slavery, campaigns of ethnic cleansing, and official regimes of racial segregation. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is probably the most well-known example of such political efforts to effect what might be called moral healing within and between nations. In this essay, I canvass various senses of reconciliation, clarifying (...) which are appropriate for understanding these recent political efforts to heal the wounds caused by state-sanctioned moral atrocities. I argue that interpersonal reconciliation is not likely to be a promising model for understanding political efforts to achieve moral closure for large-scale wrongs, and I close with some worries about the efficacy of state-sponsored attempts to reconcile victims to their wrongdoers. (shrink)
A recent argument in favor of a free market in human organs claims that such a market enhances personal autonomy. I argue here that such a market would, on the contrary, actually compromise the autonomy of those most likely to sell their organs, namely, the least well off members of society. A Marxian-inspired notion of exploitation is deployed to show how, and in what sense, this is the case.
I have argued that forgiveness paradigmatically involves overcoming moral anger, of which resentment is the central case. I have argued, as well, that forgiveness may involve overcoming any form of anger so long as the belief that you have been wrongfully harmed is partially constitutive of it, and that overcoming other negative emotions caused by a wrongdoer's misdeed may, given appropriate qualifications, count as forgiveness. Those qualifications indicate, however, significant differences between moral anger and other negative emotions; differences which must (...) be taken into account when determining whether overcoming negative emotions other than moral anger count as forgiveness. I have proposed, too, that forgiveness requires neither overcoming all negative feelings (other than moral anger) nor the judgment that the offender is a wrongdoer.I must acknowledge that my analysis is incomplete, focusing as it does on the forgiver rather than on the person forgiven. After all, there are two sides to forgiveness. Not all forgiving involves a struggle to overcome negative feelings; sometimes it is a social transaction of a more casual sort that is effected by the simple speech act “I forgive you.” My analysis is incomplete insofar as it treats exclusively of forgiveness as a process and fails to offer an analysis of forgiveness as an act. Finally, a complete theory of forgiveness requires an account of the conditions under which forgiveness qualifies as a moral virtue, and such an account is beyond the scope of this essay. Though I have not offered a complete theory of forgiveness, my effort to clarify a dimension of what is involved in a common type of forgiveness may clear the way for answering related questions about it, and thereby lead to a fuller account of forgiveness as a moral phenomenon. (shrink)