Parents are usually appreciated as possessing legitimate moral authority to compel children to make at least modest sacrifices in the service of widely shared values of moral decency. This essay argues that such authority justifies allowing parents to authorize a child to serve as an organ or tissue donor in certain circumstances, such as to authorize bone marrow donations to save a sibling with whom the potential donor shares a deep emotional bond. The approach explored here suggests, however, that at (...) least under some conditions, parents have legitimate authority to authorize donations forbidden by current guidelines. (shrink)
In August of 2000, Firestone executives initiated the second largest tire recall in U.S. history. Many of the recalled tires had been installed as original factory equipment on the popular Ford Explorer SUVs. At the time of the recall, the tires and vehicles had been linked to numerous accidents and deaths, most of which occurred when tire blowouts resulted in vehicle rollovers. While Firestones role in this case has been widely acknowledged, Ford executives have managed to deflect much of the (...) attention away from themselves, mainly by claiming that the Firestone tires were not its product, and therefore not its responsibility. In this paper, we examine the extent to which Ford can be held morally responsible for the incidents at issue. In so doing, we develop an approach for determining when an item is a product in its own right, as opposed to a component of another product. We argue that such an analysis not only provides a better understanding of this case, but also more properly accounts for the extent to which evolutions in technology and business relationships can affect issues of moral responsibility in business contexts. (shrink)
Impartially Optimizing Consequentialism (IOC) requires agents to act so as to bring about the best outcome, as judged by a preference ordering which is impartial among the needs and interests of all persons. IOC may seem to be only rational response to the recognition that one is only one person among many others with equal intrinsic moral status. A person who adopts a less impartial deontological alternative to IOC may seem to fail to take seriously the fact that other persons (...) matter in the same way that she takes herself to matter. This paper examines this of IOC. It argues that IOC is not the only rational way to recognize the fact that each person matters. It presents an alternative conception of how to recognize the status of other persons as beingswho-matter, an alternative that has Kantian rather than consequentialist implications. (shrink)
Utilitarianism seems to require us to sacrifice a person if doing so will produce a net increase in the amount of utility. This feature of utilitarianism is extremely unattractive. The puzzle is how to reject this requirement without rejecting the plausible claim that we are often wise to trade lesser amounts of utility for greater amounts. I argue that such a position is not as paradoxical as it may appear, so long as we understand the relationship between the value of (...) utility and the value of persons in a certain way. I argue that the traditional utilitarian position assumes an inadequate view of this relationship. I suggest a more plausible view of this relationship, one which implies that we may not sacrifice a person merely in order to produce a net gain in utility, where that utility does not result from the saving of any other persons' lives. (shrink)
What my suggestion rules out – if it is right – is the project of using some thesis about the conative or cognitive nature of motivation to argue for some thesis in meta-ethics. [...] facts about human motivation can be captured equally well with conativist or cognitivist language. And if that is true, then nothing about motivation either implies or rules out internalist moral realism.