"Foot stands out among contemporary ethical theorists because of her conviction that virtues and vices are more central ethical notions than rights, duties, justice, or consequences--the primary focus of most other contemporary moral theorists....[These] essays embody to some extent her commitment to an ethics of virtue. Foot's style is straightforward and readable, her arguments subtle..."--Choice.
Moral Dilemmas is the second volume of collected essays by the eminent moral philosopher Philippa Foot, gathering the best of her work from the late 1970s to the 1990s. It fills the gap between her famous 1978 collection Virtues and Vice (now reissued) and her acclaimed monograph Natural Goodness, published in 2001. In this new collection, Professor Foot develops further her critique of the dominant ethical theories of the last fifty years, and discusses such topics as the nature (...) of moral judgement, practical rationality, and the conflict of virtue with desire and self-interest. Moral Dilemmas, alongside her other two books, completes the summation of her distinctive and lasting contribution to twentieth-century moral philosophy. (shrink)
Philippa Foot has for many years been one of the most distinctive and influential thinkers in moral philosophy. Long dissatisfied with the moral theories of her contemporaries, she has gradually evolved a theory of her own that is radically opposed not only to emotivism and prescriptivism but also to the whole subjectivist, anti-naturalist movement deriving from David Hume. Dissatisfied with both Kantian and utilitarian ethics, she claims to have isolated a special form of evaluation that predicates goodness and defect (...) only to living things considered as such; she finds this form of evaluation in moral judgements. Her vivid discussion covers topics such as practical rationality, erring conscience, and the relation between virtue and happiness, ending with a critique of Nietzsche's immoralism. This long-awaited book exposes a highly original approach to moral philosophy and represents a fundamental break from the assumptions of recent debates. Foot challenges many prominent philosophical arguments and attitudes; but hers is a work full of life and feeling, written for anyone intrigued by the deepest questions about goodness and human. (shrink)
A Reply to Professor Frankena. Philippa Foot. Philosophy, Vol. 50, No. 194, 455-459. Oct., 1975. A Reply to Professor Frankena PHILIPPA FOOT Professor Frankena finds himself in a state of bewilderment.
One of the reasons why most of us feel puzzled about the problem of abortion is that we want, and do not want, to allow to the unborn child the rights that belong to adults and children. When we think of a baby about to be born it seems absurd to think that the next few minutes or even hours could make so radical a difference to its status; yet as we go back in the life of the fetus we (...) are more and more reluctant to say that this is a human being and must be treated as such. No doubt this is the deepest source of our dilemma, but it is not the only one. For we are also confused about the general question of what we may and may not do where the interests of human beings conflict. We have strong intuitions about certain cases; saying, for instance, that it is all right to raise the level of education in our country, though statistics allow us to predict that a rise in the suicide rate will follow, while it is not all right to kill the feeble-minded to aid cancer research. It is not easy, however, to see the principles involved, and one way of throwing light on the abortion issue will be by setting up parallels involving adults or children once born. So we will be able to isolate the “equal rights” issue and should be able to make some advance... (shrink)
The relationship between international order and justice has long been central to the study and practice of international relations. For most of the twentieth century, states and international society gave priority to a view of order that focused on the minimum conditions for coexistence in a pluralist, conflictual world. Justice was seen either as secondary or sometimes even as a challenge to order. Recent developments have forced a reassessment of this position. This book sets current concerns within a broad historical (...) and theoretical context; explores the depth and scope of this presumed solidarism amidst the difficulties of acting on the basis of a more strongly articulated liberal position; and underscores the complexity and abiding tensions inherent in the relationship between order and justice. Chapters examine a wide range of state and transnational perspectives on order and justice, including those from China, India, Russia, the United States, and the Islamic world. Other chapters investigate how the order-justice relationship is mediated within major international institutions, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the global financial institutions. (shrink)
Summary Successful tutoring depends in part on child tutors? ability to recognise and interpret accurately signals of misunderstanding by their tutees. Age- and gender-related differences were investigated in a study which exposed 80 children to a video-recorded episode involving a target child receiving ambiguous instructions in her attempts to move a model car along a designated route on a playmat roadway from one destination to another. The results showed that explicit, general and facial modes of displaying puzzlement by the target (...) child were judged as equally powerful expressions of degree of puzzlement, but 8-10 year olds judged the target child as significantly more puzzled than did 7 year olds. Older children were also more likely to attribute the puzzlement of the target child to the ambiguous instructions than to her verbal or facial expression of puzzlement. Girls were generally more accurate than boys in judging facial expressions and less likely than boys to give wrong or alternatively ambiguous responses when given the opportunity to correct the video-recorded ambiguous instructions. The results throw some light on the developing sensitivities of boys and girls in recognising and attributing failures of understanding by other children. (shrink)
In current dairy farming it is possible to run a profitable farm without having to adapt the system to the needs of dairy cows. In such systems the interests of the farmer and animals often diverge. Consequently, specific animal welfare problems occur. Foot disorders in dairy cattle are an illustrative example resulting from the specific methods of housing and management in current dairy farming. Foot disorders and the resulting lameness are considered the most important welfare problem in dairy (...) farming. However, these foot disorders not only typify welfare problems related to certain housing systems, but they also lead to the premature culling of cows. The assessment of the impact of foot disorders on the welfare of dairy cows raised the question of whether premature culling affects animal welfare since it affects the longevity of a cow. We argue that this aspect of longevity is morally relevant as an animal welfare issue. In this paper we aim to explore whether longevity is both (a) a morally relevant aspect in the discussion on killing animals and (b) a constitutive element of animal welfare. In other words, we aim to explore whether longevity is an independent moral argument in an animal welfare discussion. We claim that longevity is not merely important as an indicator of animal welfare, but is also a constitutive element of animal welfare. We argue that we need a more integrated approach to animal welfare and that an assessment that includes the aspect of time is necessary. This view involves a shift from views on animal welfare in terms of functioning or feeling well to a view on animal welfare that includes the aspect of natural living in which species-specific development is important. To show the impact of these points of view, we look at the practical implications for choices concerning the management of foot disorders in dairy cattle. (shrink)
The 2001 Foot and Mouth Diseaseoutbreak in the UK has had widespread adverseeffects – on the farming community, thetourist industry, millions of farm animals, theenvironment, and citizens'' quality of life.This report summarizes the course of theepidemic and then questions the ethicalvalidity of the procedure chosen to eradicatethe disease, namely, the slaughter of millionsof animals. It is argued that the utilitarianbasis of the mass slaughter program isunjustified even in its own terms, and thatrespect for certain deontological principlesmerits increased attention in (...) public policy.The long-term interests of UK citizens, theviability of British farming, and theconservation of the countryside all depend onurgent, critical decisions that should beinformed by a broader conception of the role ofethics in agriculture. (shrink)
In 1892, the British agricultural authorities introduced a policy of slaughtering animals infected with foot and mouth disease (FMD). This measure endured throughout the 20th century and formed a base line upon which officials superimposed the controversial "contiguous cull" policy during the devastating 2001 epidemic. Proponents of the slaughter frequently emphasized its capacity to eliminate FMD from Britain, and claimed that it was both cheaper and more effective than the alternative policies of isolation and vaccination. However, their discussions reveal (...) that a less obvious but nonetheless important reason for maintaining the slaughter policy was the conviction that in its manner of operation and its outcomes, it benefited the state and status of the British nation. To its supporters, slaughter was far more than a method of disease control; it acted also as a moralizing and civilizing force, an indicator of veterinary ability and a "virility symbol" of British international leadership. This "cultural" rationale for FMD control by slaughter declined during the late 20th century and was wholly undermined by the 2001 epidemic, when extensive culling failed to convey the intended image of an organized, enlightened Britain. (shrink)
This paper offers some suggestions on, and encouragement for, how to be better at risk communication in times of agricultural crisis. During the foot and mouth epizootic, the British public, having no precedent to deal with such a rapid and widespread epizootic, no existing rules or conventions, and no social or political consensus, was forced to confront the facts of a perceived "economic disease. Foot and mouth appeared as an economic disease because the major push to eradicate it (...) was motivated exclusively by trade and economic reasons and not because of threats it posed to the lives of human beings and livestock. The British public deferred responsibility to their elected officials for a speedy end to this non-life threatening viral epizootic. The latter, however, did not have a contingency plan in place to tackle such an extensive outbreak. The appeal to an existing policy, i.e., mass eradication, as the exclusive strategy of containment was a difficult pill for the public to swallow well before the end of the 226-day ordeal. Public outcry reflected (in part) serious misgivings about the lack of effective communication of risk-informed decisions between government agents and all concerned. The government''s handling of the matter underestimated concerns and values about animal welfare, public trust, and the plight of farmers and rural communities. A general loss of trust by some segments of the public was exacerbated by perceived mismanagement and early fumbles by government agents.Public moral uneasiness during the crisis, while perhaps symbolic of growing discontent with an already fractured relationship with farmed animals and the state of animal farming today, arguably, also reflected deep disappointment in government agents to recognize inherently and conditionally normative assumptions in their argument as well as recognize their narrow conception of risk. Furthermore, broader stakeholder participation was clearly missing from the outset, especially with respect to the issue of vaccination. A greater appreciation for two-way risk communication is suggested for science-based public policy in agriculture, followed by suggestions on how to be more vigilant in the future. (shrink)