At the United Nations climate change conference in 2011, parties decided to launch the “Durban Platform” to work towards a new long-term climate agreement. The decision was notable for the absence of any reference to “equity”, a prominent principle in all previous major climate agreements. Wealthy countries resisted the inclusion of equity on the grounds that the term had become too closely yoked to developing countries’ favored conception of equity. This conception, according to wealthy countries, exempts developing countries from making (...) commitments that are stringent enough for the collective effort needed to avoid dangerous climate change. In circumstances where even mentioning the term equity has become problematic, a critical question is whether scope for a fair agreement is being squeezed out of negotiations. To address this question we set out a conceptual framework for normative theorizing about fairness in international negotiations, accompanied by a set of minimal standards of fairness and plausible feasibility constraints for sharing the global climate change mitigation effort. We argue that a fair and feasible agreement may be reached by (i) reforming the current binary approach to differentiating developed and developing country groups, in tandem with (ii) introducing a more principled approach to differentiating the mitigation commitments of individual countries. These two priorities may provide the basis for a principled bargain between developed and developing countries that safeguards the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change without sacrificing widely acceptable conceptions of equity. (shrink)
Part A: Theory -- A teleological account of institutions -- The moral foundations of institutions -- Individual autonomy : agency and structure -- Collective moral responsibility -- Institutional corruption -- Part B: Applications -- The professions -- Welfare institutions -- The university -- The police -- The business corporation -- Institutions and information and communication technology -- Government.
We have two aims in this paper. The first is negative: to demonstrate the problems in Bernard Gert’s account of common morality, in particular as it applies to professional morality. The second is positive: to suggest a more satisfactory explanation of the moral basis of professional role morality, albeit one that is broadly consistent with Gert’s notion of common morality, but corrects and supplements Gert’s theory. The paper is in three sections. In the first, we sketch the main features of (...) Gert’s account of common morality in general. In the second, we outline Gert’s explanation of the source of professional moral rules and demonstrate its inadequacy. In the third section, we provide an account of our own collectivist needs-based view of the source of the role-moral obligations of many professional roles, including those of health care professionals. (shrink)
The last few decades have seen a dramatic increase in concern with matters of ethics in all areas of public life. This ‘applied turn’ in ethics raises important issues not only of focus, but also of methodology. Sometimes a moral end or moral feature is designed into an institution or technology; sometimes a morally desirable outcome is the fortuitous, but unintended, consequence of an institutional arrangement or technological invention. If designing-in ethics is the new methodological orientation for applied ethics, globalisation (...) is providing many of the practical ethical problems upon which to deploy this methodology. (shrink)
The dual-use dilemma arises in the context of research in the biological and other sciences as a consequence of the fact that one and the same piece of scientific research sometimes has the potential to be used for bad as well as good purposes. It is an ethical dilemma since it is about promoting good in the context of the potential for also causing harm, e.g., the promotion of health in the context of providing the wherewithal for the killing of (...) innocents. It is an ethical dilemma for the researcher because of the potential actions of others, e.g., malevolent non-researchers who might steal dangerous biological agents, or make use of the original researcher’s work. And it is a dilemma for governments concerned with the security of their citizens, as well as their health. In this article we construct a taxonomy of types of “experiments of concern” in the biological sciences, and thereby map the terrain of ethical risk. We then provide a series of analyses of the ethical problems and considerations at issue in the dual-use dilemma, including the impermissibility of certain kinds of research and possible restrictions on dissemination of research results given the risks to health and security. Finally, we explore the main available institutional responses to some of the specific ethical problems posed by the dual-use dilemma in the biological sciences. (shrink)
This article is a reply to Alan Rosenbaum’s reply to my reply to his orginal article on terrorism and collective responsibility. As before, and contra Rosenbaum, I argue that some forms of terrorism in some circumstances might be morally justified. This position is consistent with holding the terrorist acts of groups such as Hamas and al-Qaeda to be morally unjustifiable. An example of a possibly morally justifiable form of terrorism was that practised by the African National Congress in its armed (...) struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that torture is morally justified in some extreme emergencies. However, I also argue that notwithstanding the moral permissibility of torture in some extreme emergencies, torture ought not to be legalised or otherwise institutionalised.
In this paper I consider the general view of terrorism put forward by Jan Narveson in his “Pacificism and Terrorism: Why We Should Condemn Both” and by Alan Rosenbaum in his “On Terrorism and the Just War: Some Philosophical Reflections.” This is the view that terrorism is morally indefensible. Contra Narveson and Rosenbaum, I argue that some forms of terrorism are morally defensible in some circumstances.In the first section of the paper I will discuss the definition of terrorism, including the (...) definitions put forward by Narveson and Rosenbaum. In the second section, I will outline an account of collective moral responsibility as a necessary precursor to identifying potentially morally defensible forms of terrorism. In the third section I outline a morally defensible form of terrorism, namely terrorism in which certain categories of morally culpable non-attackers are targeted. (shrink)
Social action is central to social thought. This centrality reflects the overwhelming causal significance of action for social life, the centrality of action to any account of social phenomena, and the fact that conventions and normativity are features of human activity. This book provides philosophical analyses of fundamental categories of human social action, including cooperative action, conventional action, social norm governed action, and the actions of the occupants of organizational roles. A distinctive feature of the book is that it applies (...) these theories of social action categories to some important moral issues that arise in social contexts such as the collective responsibility for environmental pollution, humanitarian intervention, and dealing with the rights of minority groups. Avoiding both the excessively atomistic individualism of rational choice theorists and implausible collectivist assumptions, this important book will be widely read by philosophers of the social sciences, political scientists and sociologists. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to argue that there are no minority moral rights. Rights claimed to be minority moral rights, such as land rights and hunting rights of indigenous peoples, and the political and language rights of some minority cultures, turn out to be either collective moral rights which are not also minority moral rights, or else to be merely (possibly morally justified) legal minority rights which are not also minority moral rights.
This paper examines workplace surveillance and monitoring. It is argued that privacy is a moral right, and while such surveillance and monitoring can be justified in some circumstances, there is a presumption against the infringement of privacy. An account of privacy precedes consideration of various arguments frequently given for the surveillance and monitoring of employees, arguments which look at the benefits, or supposed benefits, to employees as well as to employers. The paper examines the general monitoring of work, and the (...) monitoring of email, listservers and the World Wide Web. It is argued that many of the common justifications given for this surveillance and monitoring do not stand up to close scrutiny. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the notion of collective moral responsibility as it pertains both to nation-states contemplating humanitarian armed intervention in international social conflicts, and as it pertains to social groups perpetrating human rights violations in such conflicts. I take the Rwandan genocide as illustrative of such conflicts and make use of it accordingly. I offer an individualist account of collective moral responsibility, according to which collective moral responsibility is a species of joint responsibility.
The ethical issues that affect police officers of all ranks and locations are explored in this fascinating introduction to the stark and shocking reality of real-life policing situations. Drawing on examples from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Asia, and South Africa, this book examines policing incidents from the everyday to public events that capture widespread media attention. Fully updated with revised case studies, this edition offers discussion and analysis of current ethical issues, including zero-tolerance policing; community-based policing; private (...) policing; police involvement with central, state or local governments; the internationalization of policing; specialist roles such as peacekeeping; and civil rights in relation to terrorism laws. (shrink)
Conformity by an agent to a convention to which the agent is a party is rational only if the agent prefers to conform given the other parties conform and believes the others will conform. But this justification is inadequate; what, for example, is the justification for this belief? The required rational justification requires recourse to (a) preferences for general conformity (as opposed to merely conditional preferences for one's own conformity) and (b) procedures. An agent adopts a procedure when he chooses (...) to perform a whole set of future actions, as opposed to a single action. (shrink)