In this essay, Paul Lauritzen examines Richard B. Miller's liberal account of pediatric ethics by asking if the duty to promote a child's basic interests is substantial enough to secure the well-being of children. This question is raised in light of two case studies: daytime TV talk shows that broadcast interviews with sexually active children, and a medical study conducted to test the effect of growth hormone treatment on adult height in peripubertal children. In both cases, Lauritzen argues, (...) children are subjected to potential harms that are not easily explained, and therefore not easily prevented, by appeals to basic interests. (shrink)
Olin’s focus in this collection of essays is the historical period of the early sixteenth century, the juncture of the Renaissance and the Reformation. Providing an in-depth alternative to the standard treatment – so often limited to the classical revival – this work concerns itself with the unique link between humanism and the great literary works of the period, and, in particular, the patristic scholarship inherent in Erasmus’ ideals of reform. Olin specifically take into account the movements of (...) New Learning and Humanism defining the cultural break between Medieval scholasticism and the renaissance of interest in the literature of antiquity. (shrink)
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, policy makers and others have debated the question of whether or not the United States should torture in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks. In a series of controversial essays, the legal theorist Alan Dershowitz argues that, if a democratic society is going to torture, it should at least be done under the cover of law. To that end, he recommends establishing a legal mechanism by which a judge could issue torture warrants—much as (...) they do now for search warrants. In this essay, I examine Dershowitz's proposal in light of Michael Walzer's classic essay on dirty hands. Just as Walzer uses political theater as a lens for viewing the issue of political assassination, I similarly draw upon a dramatic response to Dershowitz's proposal to think through the issue of torture warrants. (shrink)
This paper deals with the two-envelope paradox. Two main formulations of the paradoxical reasoning are distinguished, which differ according to the partition of possibilities employed. We argue that in the first formulation the conditionals required for the utility assignment are problematic; the error is identified as a fallacy of conditional reasoning. We go on to consider the second formulation, where the epistemic status of certain singular propositions becomes relevant; our diagnosis is that the states considered do not exhaust the possibilities. (...) Thus, on our approach to the paradox, the fallacy, in each formulation, is found in the reasoning underlying the relevant utility matrix; in both cases, the paradoxical argument goes astray before one gets to questions of probability or calculations of expected utility. (shrink)
: Successful stem cell therapies might change the natural contours of human life. If that happened, it would unsettle our ethical commitments and encourage us to see the entire natural world merely as material to be manipulated.
Although images are pervasive in public policy debates in bioethics, few who work in the field attend carefully to the way that images function rhetorically. If the use of images is discussed at all, it is usually to dismiss appeals to images as a form of manipulation. Yet it is possible to speak meaningfully of visual arguments. Examining the appeal to images of the embryo and fetus in debates about abortion and stem cell research, I suggest that bioethicists would be (...) well served by attending much more carefully to how images function in public policy debates. (shrink)
While there is now considerable anxiety about whether the psychological theory presupposed by virtue ethics is empirically sustainable, analogous issues have received little attention in the virtue epistemology literature. This paper argues that virtue epistemology encounters challenges reminiscent of those recently encountered by virtue ethics: just as seemingly trivial variation in context provokes unsettling variation in patterns of moral behavior, trivial variation in context elicits unsettling variation in patterns of cognitive functioning. Insofar as reliability is a condition on epistemic virtue, (...) we have reason to doubt that human beings possess the cognitive materials required for epistemic virtue, and thereby reason to think that virtue epistemology is threatened by skepticism. We conclude that while virtue epistemology has resources for addressing this challenge, exploiting these resources forces tradeoffs between empirical and normative adequacy. (shrink)
Philosophers have sometimes drawn a distinction between supererogation and duty. This paper considers the possibility that a religious understanding of hu- man life and history may require what would otherwise be considered praise worthy but not obligatory. The specific example here is forgiveness. The paper sketches a view of forgiveness and suggests that forgiveness is not, at least in contemporary (secular) Western thought, considered to be a moral obligation. Several reasons why this might be the case are considered as well (...) as how par- ticular Christian beliefs about God's justice and mercy may transform this situa- tion. The paper concludes that given certain religious beliefs, forgiveness may be both moral prerogative and religious duty. (shrink)
Sutton ( 2010 ) claims that on our analysis (2007), the problem in the two-envelope paradox is an error in counterfactual reasoning. In fact, we distinguish two formulations of the paradox, only one of which, on our account, involves an error in conditional reasoning. According to Sutton, it is conditional probabilities rather than subjunctive conditionals that are essential to the problem. We argue, however, that his strategy for assigning utilities on the basis of conditional probabilities leads to absurdity. In addition, (...) we show that a crucial presupposition of Sutton’s argument — namely, that one can know that envelope A contains n simply on the basis of a stipulation — is mistaken. (shrink)
This essay distinguishes three types of appeals to experience in ethics, identifies problems with appealing to experience, and argues that appeals to experience must be open to critical assessment, if experientially-based arguments are to be useful. Unless competing and potentially irreconcilable experiences can be assessed and adjudicated, experientially-based arguments will be problematic. The paper recommends thinking of the appeal to experience as a kind of storytelling to be evaluated as other stories are.
This paper claims that recent attempts to draw on the maternal experiences of women in order to articulate an ethic of care and compassion is a new romanticism. Like earlier romantic views, it is both attractive and potentially dangerous. The paper examines the basic claims of this new romanticism in order to identify both its strengths and weaknesses. I conclude that there are at least two versions of this new romanticism, one that relies primarily on the experiences of child-bearing in (...) grounding an ethic of care and compassion, and a second that relies primarily on child-rearing. I suggest that the former version of the new romanticism is deeply flawed because such a view ought to be unacceptable to women and will be inaccessible to men. (shrink)
Given the dichotomy traditionally posited between reason and emotion, ethicists have generally downplayed or ignored the role of emotions in the moral life. In this paper I argue that the traditional dichotomy between reason and emotion should be abandoned, and that developing an account of emotions that attends to their cognitive structure can pave the way for a reassessment of the role emotions play in our efforts to live morally. I suggest that this reassessment is of particular interest to religious (...) ethicists because adopting a "constructivist" theory of emotions can help explain how a religious vision of human life and history may bring about significant moral changes in the life of the believer. I try to illustrate this point by showing how a religious conception of the nature of moral relations may have an effect on the emotion of anger. (shrink)
Views of the self may be plotted on a set of coordinates. On the axis that runs from fragmentation to unity, Rorty and Rorty's Freud champion the decentered self while Wallwork, Taylor, and Ricoeur argue for a sovereign, unified self. On the other axis, which runs from the disengaged, inward-turning self to the engaged and "sedimented" self, Wallwork, would be positioned near Rorty, defending self-creation against the narrative identity affirmed by Taylor and Ricoeur. Despite his skepticism concerning the communitarian agenda (...) of the narrativists, Flanagan grants that the self is social and relational--a position further explored by Oliver, Stendahl, Deutsch, and Mack in "Selves, People, and Persons". (shrink)
Este artigo examina a objeção ao fechamento [dedutivo] que surge no contexto de certos paradoxos epistêmicos, paradoxos cuja conclusão é que a crença justificada pode ser inconsistente. É universalmente aceito que, se essa conclusão é correta, o fechamento deve ser rejeitado, para que se evite a crença justificada em enunciados contraditórios (P, ~P). Mas, mesmo que os argumentos desses paradoxos – o paradoxo da falibilidade (do prefácio) e o paradoxo da loteria – sejam mal-sucedidos, eles, ainda assim, sugerem a existência (...) de evidência independente para uma objeção mais direta contra o fechamento. O exame do argumento da falibilidade revela uma exigência de modéstia epistêmica que viola o fechamento a partir de múltiplas premissas. A reflexão sobre o paradoxo da loteria nos confronta com um dilema em que cada alternativa fornece um contra-exemplo ao fechamento a partir de uma única premissa. Seja ou não possível a inconsistência racional, há uma objeção contra o fechamento. PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Fechamento dedutivo. Falibilidade. Paradoxo da Loteria. Paradoxo do Prefácio. Justificação. Inconsistência. ABSTRACT This paper examines the case against closure that arises in the context of certain epistemic paradoxes, paradoxes whose conclusion is that it is possible for justified belief to be inconsistent. It is generally agreed that if this conclusion is correct, closure must be rejected in order to avoid justified belief in contradictory statements (P, ~P). But even if the arguments of these paradoxes – the fallibility (preface) paradox and the lottery paradox – are unsuccessful, they nonetheless suggest independent grounds for a more direct case against closure. Examination of the fallibility argument reveals a requirement of epistemic modesty that violates multiple premise closure. Reflection on the lottery paradox presents us with a dilemma in which each alternative provides a counterexample to single premise closure. Whether or not rational inconsistency is possible, there is a case against closure. KEY WORDS – Closure. Fallibility. Lottery paradox. Preface paradox. Justification. Inconsistency. (shrink)
Although the use of new health technologies in healthcare and medicine is generally seen as beneficial, there has been little analysis of the impact of such technologies on people's lives and understandings of health and illness. This book explores how new technologies not only provide hope for cure and well-being, but also introduce new ethical dilemmas and raise questions about the "natural" body. Focusing on the ways new health technologies intervene into our lives and affect our ideas about normalcy, the (...) body and identity, New Health Technologies explores: how new health technologies are understood by lay people and patients how the outcomes of these technologies are communicated in various clinical settings how these technologies can alter our notions of health and illness and create "new illness." Written by authors with differing backgrounds in phenomenology, social psychology, social anthropology, communication studies and the nursing sciences, this book is essential reading for students andacademics of medical sociology, health and allied studies, and anyone with an interest in new health technologies. (shrink)
When David Lewis ( 1986 ) told us that possible worlds were a ‘paradise for philosophers’, he neglected to add that they are a minefield for decision theorists. Possibilities — be they nomological, metaphysical, or epistemic possibilities — have little to do with subjective probabilities, and it is these latter that matter most to decision theory. Bernard Katz and Doris Olin ( 2007 ) have tried to solve the two-envelope problem by appealing to possible worlds and counterfactual conditionals. In (...) this article, I explain why any such attempt is misguided, and why we, qua decision theorists, must focus on the probable rather than the possible. (shrink)
Doris Olin's Paradox is a very helpful book for those who want to be introduced to the philosophical treatment of paradoxes, or for those who already have knowledge of the general area and would like to have a helpful resource book.