Continuing tensions exist between mainstream bioethics and advocates of the disability rights movement. This paper explores some of the grounds for those tensions as exemplified in From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice by Allen Buchanan and coauthors, a book by four prominent bioethicists that is critical of the disability rights movement. One set of factors involves the nature of disability and impairment. A second set involves presumptions regarding social values, including the importance of intelligence in relation to other human (...) characteristics, competition as the basis of social organization, and the nature of the parent–child relationship. The authors’ disapproval of certain aspects of the disability rights movement can be seen to be associated with particular positions regarding these factors. Although the authors intend to use a method of ‘broad reflective equilibrium,’ we argue that their idiosyncratic commitment to particular concepts of disability and particular social values produces a narrowing of the moral significance of their conclusions regarding disability rights. (shrink)
Tensions exist between the disability rights movement and the work of many bioethicists. These reveal themselves in a major recent book on bioethics and genetics, From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice. This book defends certain genetic policies against criticisms from disability rights advocates, in part by arguing that it is possible to accept both the genetic policies and the rights of people with impairments. However, a close reading of the book reveals a series of direct moral criticisms of the (...) disability rights movement. The criticisms go beyond a defense of genetic policies from the criticisms of disability rights advocates. The disability rights movement is said not to have the same moral legitimacy as other civil rights movements, such as those for women or "racial" minorities. This paper documents, and in some cases shows the flaws within, these challenges to the disability rights movement. (shrink)
Three of the articles included in this issue of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy - Ron Amundson and ShariTresky's "On a Bioethical Challenge to Disability Rights"; Rachel Cooper's "Can It Be a Good Thing to Be Deaf?"; and Mark T. Brown's "The Potential of the Human Embryo" - interact (in various ways) with the concepts of disability, humanity, and personhood and their normative dimensions. As one peruses these articles, it becomes apparent that terms like "disability," "human (...) being," and "person" carry with them great normative significance. There is, however, much disagreement concerning both the definition and the extension of such terms. This is significant because different terms and definitions are associated with different sets of normative requirements. In what follows we reconstruct the argument of each of the articles, and then offer some brief critical analysis intended to stimulate further thought about and discussion of the issues that each raises. (shrink)
I propose a framework for comparative Islamic—Western ethics in which the Islamic categories "Islam, Iman," and "Ihsan" are juxtaposed with the concepts of obligation, value, and virtue, respectively. I argue that "shari'a" refers to both the obligation component and the entire structure of the Islamic ethic; suggesting a suspension of the understanding of "shari'a" as simply Islamic "law," and an alternative understanding of "usul al-fiqh" as a moral epistemology of obligation. I will test this approach by addressing the (...) question of reason in Islamic moral epistemology via an examination of an argument advanced by a founding usul scholar Muhammad bin Idrīs al-Shāfi'ī (150 A.H./767 C.E.). (shrink)
Most contemporary advocates of the Just War Tradition (JWT) condemn religious war. If they are correct, waging war should be a secular affair, fully justifiable on non-religious grounds. This secularized understanding of the JWT draws on normative commitments that lead many political theorists to advocate in favor of a secularized politics in western liberal polities. As a matter of historical fact and contemporary commitment, many Muslims have rejected the secularized conception of the morality of war found in contemporary conceptions of (...) the JWT. I argue that, given appropriate distinctions between relevantly different kinds of religious war, advocates of the JWT have excellent reason to rethink their antipathy to religious war. Specifically, I argue that distinct kinds of religious war can enjoy differential normative standing and that there is no compelling reason to believe that religiously justified wars must be waged in a morally improper manner, viz., in a way that violates the JWT's in bello requirements. (shrink)
Recent decades of women's rights advocacy have produced numerous regional and international agreements for protecting women's security, including a UN convention that affirms the state's responsibility to protect key gender-specific rights, with no exceptions on the basis of culture or religion. At the same time, however, the focus on universal women's rights has enabled influential feminists in the United States to view women's rights in opposition to culture, and most often in opposition to other people's cultures. Not surprisingly, then, feminists (...) across the global South have criticized the universal-women's-rights agenda. This article reviews representative critical responses to universal-women's-rights advocacy. The author argues that, taken collectively, these critical responses do not reject the possibility of cross-cultural feminist advocacy but they do suggest the need for feminists in the United States and Europe to focus less on transferring rights across the obstacles of culture and more on how they can revise and expand their own understanding of women's rights in response to the struggles of other women, many of whom view women's rights as organic to their own cultures and as connected to broader social struggles. (shrink)
This paper traces the ethnocentric structure of U.S.-published anthologies in global ethics and related fields and it examines the ethical and philosophical implications of such ethnocentrism. The author argues that the ethnocentric structure of prominent work in global ethics not only impairs the field's ability to prepare students for global citizenship but contributes to the ideological processes that maintain global inequities. In conclusion, the author makes a case that fuller engagement with global-South and indigenous writers on global issues can encourage (...) U.S. students and scholars to examine more closely the ideologies that order our lives and to risk the kind of selfexamination that is necessary in order to build effective relationships with diverse global communities. (shrink)
Joan Scott's poststructuralist critique of experience demonstrates the dangers of empiricist narratives of experience but leaves feminists without a meaningful way to engage nonempiricist, experience-oriented texts, texts that constitute many women's primary means of taking control over their own representation. Using Chandra Mohanty's analysis of the role of writing in Third World feminisms, I articulate a concept of experience that incorporates poststructuralist insights while enabling a more responsible reading of Third World women's narratives.
This article surveys four approaches to moral obligation to non-Muslims found in Islamic legal thought. The first three approaches I refer to in this article as the "revelatory-deontological," the "contractualist-constructivist" and the "consequentialist-utilitarian." The main argument of this article is that present in many of the contemporary works on the "jurisprudence of Muslim minorities" (fiqh al-aqalliyyat) is an attempt to provide an Islamic foundation for a relatively thick and rich relationship of moral obligation and solidarity with non-Muslims. This attempt takes (...) the form of a fourth "comprehensive-qualitative" approach to political ethics in that it appeals not to juridical reasoning of the type "is x permissible and in which conditions?" but rather to Islamic ideals of what it means to live a good life, of what believing, normatively-committed Muslims want to pursue in this world, not only what they may pursue without fear of punishment. This meta-ethical approach builds on and goes beyond the first three. The force of this argument is that this fourth "comprehensive-qualitative" approach to moral obligation to non-Muslims is novel, emergent and not found not in the writings of outright reformers but in those of conservative, "neo-classical," shari'a-minded - even Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated - Islamic scholars. What also adds to the force of this argument is that the other meta-ethical discourses, particularly of contract and utility (maslaha), already get these scholars quite far towards a doctrine of "loyal resident alienage" in non-Muslim societies. That even orthodox Islamic scholars go further shows that they have some interest in giving a theological or principled foundation to a much thicker and richer form of moral obligation to non-Muslims, a relationship which involves recognizing non-Muslims qua non-Muslims and contributing to their well-being. (shrink)
The goal of responsible engineers is the creation of useful and safe technological products and commitment to public health, while respecting the autonomy of the clients and the public. Because engineers often face moral dilemma to resolve such issues, different engineers have chosen different course of actions depending on their respective moral value orientations. Islam provides a value-based mechanism rooted in the Maqasid al-Shari‘ah (the objectives of Islamic law). This mechanism prioritizes some values over others and could help resolve (...) the moral dilemmas faced in engineering. This paper introduces the Islamic interpretive-evaluative maxims to two core issues in engineering ethics: genetically modified foods and whistleblowing. The study aims primarily to provide problem-solving maxims within the Maqasid al-Shari‘ah matrix through which such moral dilemmas in science and engineering could be studied and resolved. (shrink)
The role of reason, and its embodiment in philosophical-scientific theorizing, is always a troubling one for religious traditions. The deep emotional needs that religion strives to satisfy seem ever linked to an attitudes of acceptance, belief, or trust, yet, in its theoretical employment, reason functions as a critic as much as it does a creator, and in the special fields of metaphysics and epistemology its critical arrows are sometimes aimed at long-standing cherished beliefs. Understandably, the mere approach to these beliefs (...) through organized philosophical activity, however well-intended, is viewed with suspicion by ecclesiastical authorities and the devout. The attitude towards philosophical inquiry on the part of the Islamic religious community might be thought to typify this reaction. As one of the great prophetic religions, the self-avowed image of Islam is of a tradition which already possesses the truth as set forth in the divine revelation of the Qur'an. What need is there for philosophizing on fundamental matters, e.g., the ultimate nature of reality, the foundations of morality, the modes whereby the divine is connected with the temporal? The structure of creation is already made clear, the "straight path" for living already manifest. how can philosophical activity be anything but a source of divisive controversy, for as it turns its gaze to the foundations upon which the Shari`a' (Islamic Law) rests, or to the grounds for religious belief itself, it cannot avoid turning up alternative viewpoints, different perspectives on divine revelation, noting various weaknesses in received 1 interpretations? In short, isn't the practice of philosophy a threat to Islam's promise of providing a comprehensive way of living devoid of skepticism and uncertainty about the place of a human in God's creation and his or her role in the 'umma (Islamic community)? This problem is not unique to Islam, nor is it a new one within Islam. We know that it has been debated by Islamic thinkers since the translations of the Greek philosophers began to appear in an organized Islamic world during the 8th Century A.. (shrink)
One of the ways Islamic tradition addresses questions of military ethics is through inquiries into the shari'a, indicating the ideal way of life and usually rendered as Islamic 'law'. Discussion of the shari?a includes an extended conversation concerning the justification and conduct of war. The work of al-Shaybani (d. 804) and other early scholars in the Hanafi school illustrates an important moment in this conversation, establishing precedents to which subsequent generations of Muslims (including contemporary Muslims) must respond. Further, (...) the accomplishments of these scholars provide an important example to all those engaged in thinking about military ethics. (shrink)
In “The Search for Environmental Rights,” Joseph Sax argues that each individual should have, as a right, freedom from environmental hazards and access to environmental benefits, but he makes clear that environmental rights do not exist and their recognition would truly be a novel step. Sax states that environmental rights are different from existing human rights and argues that the closest analogy is welfare interests. In arguing for environmental rights, I follow Sax’s direction and draw from the work of those (...) who are the most relevant in establishing environmental rights. I consider Joel Feinberg’s notion of welfare interests, Henry Shue’s notion of basic rights, and James Nickel’s right to a safe environment. I draw from Mill’s harm principle, the superfund legislation, and the Clean Air Act to illustrate the existing ethical and legal bases for establishing environmental rights. Finally, I discuss positive and negative duties that such rights might carry. (shrink)
Prior studies have shown a general preference among citizens for juries over judges. Researchers, however, have not considered whether race and ethnicity modify this preference. We hypothesized that minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics), who generally express less trust in the legal system, may also express less trust in juries than non-Hispanic whites. We asked a representative sample of 1,465 residents of Texas to state whether they would prefer a jury or a judge to be the decision maker in four hypothetical circumstances. Consistent (...) with expectations, non-Hispanic whites favored juries over judges, particularly if they imagined themselves as a defendant in a criminal trial. By comparison, although African-Americans and some Hispanics generally favored juries, they showed a much weaker set of jury preferences. African Americans had markedly lower support for the civil jury, but support was higher among minorities with prior jury service. Among Hispanics, respondents who took the survey in Spanish typically preferred a judge to make legal decisions. We consider the implications of our findings for trust in the jury system and trust in community members as decision makers. (shrink)
There is burgeoning interest in the field of “Islamic” bioethics within public and professional circles, and both healthcare practitioners and academic scholars deploy their respective expertise in attempts to cohere a discipline of inquiry that addresses the needs of contemporary bioethics stakeholders while using resources from within the Islamic ethico-legal tradition. This manuscript serves as an introduction to the present thematic issue dedicated to Islamic bioethics. Using the collection of papers as a guide the paper outlines several critical questions that (...) a comprehensive and cohesive Islamic bioethical theory must address: (i) What are the relationships between Islamic law (Sharīʿah), moral theology (uṣūl al-Fiqh), and Islamic bioethics? (ii) What is the relationship between an Islamic bioethics and the lived experiences of Muslims? and (iii) What is the relationship between Islamic bioethics and the state? This manuscript, and the papers in this special collection, provides insight into how Islamic bioethicists and Muslim communities are addressing some of these questions, and aims to spur further dialogue around these overaching questions as Islamic bioethics coalesces into a true field of scholarly and practical inquiry. (shrink)
The rights of women in fundamentalist Muslim countries has become a cause celebre for many North American women; however, the problem of how to balance respect for women's rights and respect for cultural differences remains in dispute, even within feminist theory. This paper explores how U.S. feminists who are serious about supporting the struggles of women across cultural borders might best adjudicate the seeming tension between women's rights and cultural autonomy. Upon examining 4 representative approaches to this problem, the paper (...) argues that the seeming choice between respect for women's rights and respect for cultural differences is a false one and that both goals are advanced when global-minded U.S. feminists build on the insights of marginalized cultural groups to reflect critically on their own moral authority and their own communities' complicity with other women's oppression. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the psychosocial implications of disabled begging. Conscious motives of these individuals may include profit, expediency, power, honesty, and public protest. Unconscious motives may include exhibitionism, anger, masochism, and rebellion. The social context, including hypocritical attitudes toward disability, is shown to contribute to the occurrence of this behavior.
This book offers the first sustained jurisprudential inquiry into Islamic natural law theory. It introduces readers to competing theories of Islamic natural law theory based on close readings of Islamic legal sources from as early as the 9th and 10th centuries CE. In popular debates about Islamic law, modern Muslims perpetuate an image of Islamic law as legislated by God, to whom the devout are bound to obey. Reason alone cannot obligate obedience; at most it can confirm or corroborate what (...) is established by source texts endowed with divine authority. -/- This book shows, however, that premodern Sunni Muslim jurists were not so resolute. Instead, they asked whether and how reason alone can be the basis for asserting the good and the bad, thereby justifying obligations and prohibitions under Shari'a. They theorized about the authority of reason amidst competing theologies of God. For premodern Sunni Muslim jurists, nature became the link between the divine will and human reason. Nature is the product of God's purposeful creation for the benefit of humanity. Since nature is created by God and thereby reflects His goodness, nature is fused with both fact and value. Consequently, as a divinely created good, nature can be investigated to reach both empirical and normative conclusions about the good and bad. They disagreed, however, whether nature's goodness is contingent upon a theology of God's justice or God's potentially contingent grace upon humanity, thus contributing to different theories of natural law. -/- By recasting the Islamic legal tradition in terms of legal philosophy, the book sheds substantial light on an uncharted tradition of natural law theory and offers critical insights into contemporary global debates about Islamic law and reform. -/- . (shrink)
This study examines the communication strategies employed by MeritCare’s public relations staff during the fen–phen case. The ethic of significant choice was the primary lens for the study. The study revealed that MeritCare’s public relations staff members believed they did, in fact, follow the ethic of significant choice. Specifically, they perceived that the biases held by staff helped maintain the public’s safety as the primary issue during the fen–phen events. They also believed that their communication strategies allowed them to avoid (...) ambiguity and emotionalized language. Finally, the staff members felt that teaming with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota enabled them to influence the marketplace of ideas by capitalizing on the credible standing of Mayo Clinic. (shrink)
Introduction: religion in modern Islam -- The essence of religion and Islam's essence -- The value of religion and Islam -- Religion, Islam and identity -- The meaning and symbol of the Islamic state -- Religion between sharīʻa and law -- Reading Islamic feminism: modernism and beyond.
Abstract In this study of the relationship between moral behaviour, level of moral development, and motivation, moral behaviour was assessed in an experimental situation in which it was necessary to violate the experimenter's authority to help someone; level of moral development was assessed by Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Scale, and motivation by a post?experimental interview. Although 72 per cent of the subjects stated afterwards that they felt that they should help, only 43 per cent did, and only 6 per cent volunteered (...) their own service. As the level of moral development rose, an increasing percentage of subjects helped. Subjects interpreted the same situation differently and were motivated to make the same response for different reasons, which varied with their level of moral development. (shrink)