The enjoyment of beauty has a peculiar, mildly intoxicating quality of feeling The science of aesthetics investigates the conditions under which things are felt as beautiful, but it has been unable to give any explanation of the nature and origin of beauty Psychoanalysis, unfortunately, has scarcely anything to say about beauty either.1 Freud.
In this volume comprised of sixteen essays and rebuttals, author and professor of philosophy Susan Haack responds to her fellow philosophers and her critics on a wide range of topics that involve much more than the esoteric nature of contemporary philosophy. Instead, as is Haack's forte, she asserts her views on important current issues such as how scientists conduct their work, the ethics of affirmative action and the pitfalls of preferential hiring, and how the distorted reality the postmodern thinkers (...) have presented has corrupted legal thinking. Her charge is to bring clarity, precision, integrity, and most of all, practicality to her field of study. (shrink)
Susan Wolf famously claimed that the life of the moral saint is unattractive from the “point of view of individual perfection.” I argue, however, that the unattractive moral saints in Wolf’s account are self-defeating on two levels, are motivated in the wrong way, and are called into question by real-life counter-examples. By appealing to a real-life case study, I argue that the best life from the moral point of view is not necessarily unattractive from the individual point of (...) view. (shrink)
I defend the theory that one's life is meaningful to the extent that one promotes the good. Call this the good cause account (GCA) of the meaning of life. It holds that the good effects that count towards the meaning of one's life need not be intentional. Nor must one be aware of the effects. Nor does it matter whether the same good would have resulted if one had not existed. What matters is that one is causally responsible for the (...) good. I argue that the best theory of the meaning of life should clearly distinguish between subjective fulfillment and objective meaningfulness. The GCA respects the distinction. And it is superior to its leading rivals in the recent literature, most notably those of Erik Wielenberg and Susan Wolf. (shrink)
[Working paper] Philosophers occasionally invoke Lipsey and Lancaster's "general theory of second best" to challenge the ideal guidance view, the view that ideal political principles can provide normative guidelines for our efforts to address injustice amidst unfavorable circumstances. Roughly, the theorem says: if certain conditions are met, then what we should do in nonideal circumstances does not necessarily approximate what we should do in ideal circumstances. But extant challenges to the ideal guidance view are based on mistaken interpretations of (...) the theorem's antecedent condition. I show that, once we understand the antecedent condition correctly, the theory of second best does not present as tough a challenge to the ideal guidance view as is typically believed. (shrink)
I defend a realist commitment to the truth of our most empirically successful current scientific theories—on the ground that it provides the best explanation of their success and the success of their falsified predecessors. I argue that this Best Current Theory Realism (BCTR) is superior to preservative realism (PR) and the structural realism (SR). I show that PR and SR rest on the implausible assumption that the success of outdated theories requires the realist to hold that these theories (...) possessed truthful components. PR is undone by the fact that past theories succeeded even though their ontological claims about unobservables are false. SR backpeddles to argue that the realist is only committed to the truth about the structure of relations implied by the outdated theory, in order to explain its success. I argue that the structural component of theories is too bare-bones thin to explain the predictive/explanatory success of outdated theories. I conclude that BCTR can meet these objections to PR and SR, and also overcome the pessimistic meta-induction. (shrink)
This article generalizes the explanationist account of inference to the best explanation (IBE). It draws a clear distinction between IBE and abduction and presents abduction as the first step of IBE. The second step amounts to the evaluation of explanatory power, which consist in the degree of explanatory virtues that a hypothesis exhibits. Moreover, even though coherence is the most often cited explanatory virtue, on pain of circularity, it should not be treated as one of the explanatory virtues. Rather, (...) coherence should be equated with explanatory power and considered to be derivable from the other explanatory virtues: unification, explanatory depth and simplicity. (shrink)
Leibniz argued that God would not create a world unless it was the best possible world. I defend Leibniz’s argument. I then consider whether God could refrain from creating if there were no best possible world. I argue that God, on pain of contradiction, could not refrain from creating in such a situation. I conclude that either this is the best possible world or God is not our creator.
It is sometimes argued that if God were to exist, then the actual world would be the best possible world. However, given that the actual world is clearly not the best possible world, then God doesn’t exist. In response, some have argued that the world could always be improved with the creation of new people and that there is thus no best possible world. I argue that this reasoning gives rise to an instance of Parfit’s mere addition (...) paradox and should thus be rejected. Others (Robert Adams, in particular) have argued that the actual world may, in fact, be the best possible world, at least for all actual people. I argue that this reasoning gives rise to Parfit’s non-identity problem and should thus be rejected. (shrink)
In the space of possible worlds, there might be a best possible world (a uniquely best world or a world tied for best with some other worlds). Or, instead, for every possible world, there might be a better possible world. Suppose that the latter is true, i.e., that there is no best world. Many have thought that there is then an argument against the existence of God, i.e., the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect (...) being; we will call such arguments no-best-world arguments. In this paper, we discuss ability-based objections to such arguments; an ability-based objection to a no-best world argument claims that the argument fails because one or more of its premises conflict with a plausible principle connecting the applicability of some type of moral evaluation to the agent’s possession of a relevant ability. In particular, we formulate and evaluate an important new ability-based objection to the most promising no-best world argument. (shrink)
This article analyzes the evolution of best practices in the maquiladora industry in Mexico. Since the mid-1960s, the maquiladora has been understood as a simple assembly activity based on cheap labor, with low added value, and limited linkage with local suppliers. However, the maquiladora industry has evolved since the early 1980s as a consequence of the adoption of best practices in the productive processes and industrial organization. The best practices examined in this article are increases or improvements (...) in complex activities, capabilities, just-in-time, continuous improvement, environmental performance, and job safety. The data come from three surveys administered in major U.S./Mexico border cities in 1990, 2002, and 2006. Based on an analysis of these surveys, there has been a broad diffusion of the best organizational practices since the 1960s. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to present and discuss some of the best practices of financial industry, in three emerging economies: Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The main thesis is that, notwithstanding the importance of certain specific deficiencies, such as an inadequate regulatory context or the lack of financial education among the population, the main factor that explains the low banking levels in emerging and developing economies, affecting mostly lower-income segments, is the use of inefficient financial service distribution models. (...) In connection with this thesis, we will try to show that traditional financial institutions, both in developing countries and in the advanced economies have a special social responsibility to help create an efficient financial system that makes saving and borrowing instruments available to the greatest possible number of citizens. (shrink)
This study uses best–worst scaling experiments to examine differences across six countries in the attitudes of consumers towards social and ethical issues that included both product related issues (such as recycled packaging) and general social factors (such as human rights). The experiments were conducted using over 600 respondents from Germany, Spain, Turkey, USA, India, and Korea. The results show that there is indeed some variation in the attitudes towards social and ethical issues across these six countries. However, what is (...) more telling are the similarities seen and the extent to which individual variation dominates observable demographics and country-based variables. (shrink)
The case of Twin B involves the decision to send a newborn to a less intensive Level 2 special care nursery (SCN) than to the Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that is considered optimal by the physician. The physician’s acceptance of the transfer is against the child’s best interest and is due to parental convenience. In analyzing the case, we reject the best interest standard. Our rejection is partly supported by the views of Douglas Diekema, John (...) Hardwig, and Lannie Ross. Instead of the best interest standard, we offer and defend an approach we base on a microeconomic analysis of externalities, such as those involved with automobile emissions. This extends our previously presented general microeconomic approach to patient decision-making. It provides a clearer way to evaluate situations, like those of Twin B, in which burdens faced by family members may be used to determine the appropriate level of treatment for a decisionally incapable patient. (shrink)
The search for the best strategy in literacy education is a lingering phenomenon. From time to time one strategy is claimed to work best, only to be critically challenged and replaced by another. There is always debate about what the best strategy is. The belief that there is supposed to be only one best strategy is not consistent with the fact that there are diverse views on what it should be. This paper argues that the search (...) for the best strategy is not looking for the best among various practices. Instead, it calls for a critical examination of our underlying philosophical beliefs about it. Hence, the discussion of the best strategy is divided into three philosophical phases: objectivist, deconstructivist, and praxis. The search is argued to be taking a journey of philosophical investigations rather than finding a certain practice superior to all others. (shrink)
Modifying images for scientific publication is now quick and easy due to changes in technology. This has created a need for new image processing guidelines and attitudes, such as those offered to the research community by Doug Cromey (Cromey 2010). We suggest that related changes in technology have simplified the task of detecting misconduct for journal editors as well as researchers, and that this simplification has caused a shift in the responsibility for reporting misconduct. We also argue that the concept (...) of best practices in image processing can serve as a general model for education in best practices in research. (shrink)
This article discusses how inference to the best explanation (IBE) can be justified as a practical meta-argument. It is, firstly, justified as a practical argument insofar as accepting the best explanation as true can be shown to further a specific aim. And because this aim is a discursive one which proponents can rationally pursue in—and relative to—a complex controversy, namely maximising the robustness of one’s position, IBE can be conceived, secondly, as a meta-argument. My analysis thus bears a (...) certain analogy to Sellars’ well-known justification of inductive reasoning (Sellars, In: Essays in honour of Carl G. Hempel, 1969); it is based on recently developed theories of complex argumentation (Betz, In: Theorie dialektischer Strukturen, 2010a). (shrink)
Reviewing "The Ethics of Gender, Feminism and Christian Ethics," and "The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology," the author suggests that Susan Parsons responds to questions postmodernism has posed to both feminism and Christian ethics by using insights gained from various accounts of the moral subject found in feminist philosophy, ethics, and theology. Hesitant to embrace postmodernism's critique of the possibility of ethics, Parsons redefines ethics by establishing a moral point of view within discursive communities. Yet in her brief treatment (...) of Emmanuel Levinas, Parsons does not explore the postmodern option he offers feminists: an understanding of moral responsibility that can be critical of ethics. Parsons also ignores some feminist perspectives in the physical and natural sciences, thereby missing valuable insights of feminists who insist upon the materiality of the body. (shrink)
This paper offers a brief analysis of the unification problem in modal transitive logics related to the logic S4 : S4 itself, K4, Grz and Gödel-Löb provability logic GL . As a result, new, but not the first, algorithms for the construction of ‘best’ unifiers in these logics are being proposed. The proposed algorithms are based on our earlier approach to solve in an algorithmic way the admissibility problem of inference rules for S4 and Grz . The first algorithms (...) for the construction of ‘best’ unifiers in the above mentioned logics have been given by S. Ghilardi in [ 16 ]. Both the algorithms in [ 16 ] and ours are not much computationally efficient. They have, however, an obvious significant theoretical value a portion of which seems to be the fact that they stem from two different methodological approaches. (shrink)
The main purpose of this article is to analyse one aspect of Spanish business ethics: the role of the transparency and quality of the economic and financial information given to meet the demands and requirements of shareholders. To that end we concentrate firstly on analysing the Spanish capital market and the situation of shareholders prior to the publication in February 1988 of the Code of Best Practice for Spanish Companies, drawn up by a Special Committee created at the request (...) of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. We analyse the importance of the behaviour and actions of three groups which are fundamental to assuring quality and transparency of information: those who prepare financial statements, the Board of Directors (particularly the Audit Committee) and the external auditors. Finally, we look at the possible consequences of the Code of Best Practice on Spanish business ethics. (shrink)
I address two issues pertaining to the interpretation of the consequent of Lipsey and Lancaster's (1956) "general theory of second best". This note is a companion to my "Ideal Theory and the Theory of Second Best", which discusses issues pertaining to the theorem's antecedent.
Opt-out systems of postmortem organ procurement are often supposed to be justifiable by presumed consent, but this justification turns out to depend on a mistaken mental state conception of consent. A promising alternative justification appeals to the analogical situation that occurs when an emergency decision has to be made about medical treatment for a patient who is unable to give or withhold his consent. In such cases, the decision should be made in the best interests of the patient. The (...) analogous suggestion to be considered, then, is, if the potential donor has not registered either his willingness or his refusal to donate, the probabilities that he would or would not have preferred the removal of his organs need to be weighed. And in some actual cases the probability of the first alternative may be greater. This article considers whether the analogy to which this argument appeals is cogent, and concludes that there are important differences between the emergency and the organ removal cases, both as regards the nature of the interests involved and the nature of the right not to be treated without one’s consent. Rather, if opt-out systems are to be justified, the needs of patients with organ failure and/or the possibility of tacit consent should be considered. (shrink)
In the western healthcare, shared decision making has become the orthodox approach to making healthcare choices as a way of promoting patient autonomy. Despite the fact that the autonomy paradigm is poorly suited to paediatric decision making, such an approach is enshrined in English common law. When reaching moral decisions, for instance when it is unclear whether treatment or non-treatment will serve a child’s best interests, shared decision making is particularly questionable because agreement does not ensure moral validity. With (...) reference to current common law and focusing on intensive care practice, this paper investigates what claims shared decision making may have to legitimacy in a paediatric intensive care setting. Drawing on key texts, I suggest these identify advantages to parents and clinicians but not to the child who is the subject of the decision. Without evidence that shared decision making increases the quality of the decision that is being made, it appears that a focus on the shared nature of a decision does not cohere with the principle that the best interests of the child should remain paramount. In the face of significant pressures toward the displacement of the child’s interests in a shared decision, advantages of a shared decision to decisional quality require elucidation. Although a number of arguments of this nature may have potential, should no such advantages be demonstrable we have cause to revise our commitment to either shared decision making or the paramountcy of the child in these circumstances. (shrink)
The maxim “parents should do what is in the best interests of their child” seems like an unassailable truth, and yet, as I argue here, there are serious problems with it when it is taken seriously. One problem concerns the sort of demands such a principle places on parents; the other concerns its larger social implications when conceived as part of a national policy for the rearing of children. The theory of parenting that creates these problems I call “optimizing (...) parentalism.” To avoid them, I define and defend a new and more morally appealing theory, “satisficing parentalism.”. (shrink)
The ‘best interests’ standard is a highly seductive standard in English law. Not only does it appear to be fairly uncontroversial but it also presents as the most sensible, objective and ‘fair’ method of dealing with decision making on behalf of those who are perceived to be the most vulnerable within society. This article aims to provide a critical appraisal of how the standard has been applied within family law, to outline how the standard is to be applied within (...) healthcare law and, finally, to assess the relevance of the family law experience of the best interests standard to the operation of the standards as envisaged by the MCA. (shrink)
This article provides an understanding and defence of ‘best interests’. The analysis is performed in the context of, and is informed by, English law. The understanding that develops allows for differences in values, and is thus argued to be appropriate in a pluralist liberal system. When understood properly, it is argued, best interests provides the best means of decision-making for people deemed incompetent to decide for themselves. It is accepted that some commentators are cynical of best (...) interests in practice. Following an assessment of some of their principal concerns, it is suggested that best interests in fact provides a construct that is both defensible and desirable. (shrink)
This article combines Social Choice Theory with Discrete Optimization. We assume that individuals have preferences over edges of a graph that need to be aggregated. The goal is to find a socially “best” spanning tree in the graph. As ranking all spanning trees is becoming infeasible even for small numbers of vertices and/or edges of a graph, our interest lies in finding algorithms that determine a socially “best” spanning tree in a simple manner. This problem is closely related (...) to the minimum (or maximum) spanning tree problem in Discrete Optimization. Our main result shows that for the various underlying ranking rules on the set of spanning trees discussed in this article, the sets of “best” spanning trees coincide. Moreover, a greedy algorithm based on a transitive group ranking on the set of edges will always provide such a “best” spanning tree. (shrink)
This paper considers the role of the concept of best interests in the treatment of mental disorder. It considers the Mental Capacity Act 2005 where treatment of an incapacitated person’s mental disorder is authorized if treatment is in the patient’s own best interests. It also examines the Mental Health Act 1983 as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007 where treatment without consent of a detained patient is allowed where necessary for the patient’s health or safety or for (...) the protection of others. Under both statutory regimes treatment must be in the best interests of the patient. This paper argues that ‘best interests’ is open to interpretation to include treatment interventions carried out primarily to protect other people. (shrink)
We send messages as much in how we communicate as by what we communicate. Learning best practices, such as those for data management proposed in the accompanying article, are components of becoming a responsible and contributing member of the community of scholars. Not only must we teach the principles underlying best practices, we should model and teach approaches for implementing those practices and help students come to view them within the larger context of becoming members of a professional (...) community. How to collaborate across differences and how to have disputes professionally are skills all professionals need, and they should be taught along with the content itself. (shrink)
This is a response to Professor Fennell's paper on the recent influence and impact of the best interests test on the treatment of patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) for mental disorder. I discuss two points of general ethical significance raised by Professor Fennell. Firstly, I consider his argument on the breadth of the best interests test, incorporating as it does factors considerably wider than those of medical justifications and the risk of harm. Secondly, I (...) discuss his contention that the apparent permeability of the line between the interests of the patient and the interests of society is something to be concerned about in itself. Since the overarching theme of the paper is the proper place of social and cultural values, my reponse considers the implications of Fennell's arguments in the light of Charlotte Brontë's novel ‘Jane Eyre’, which, through the character of Bertha Mason (the infamous ‘mad woman in the attic’) provides a provocative study of the relationship between mental disorder and society. (shrink)
The effectiveness of decision rules depends on characteristics of both rules and environments. A theoretical analysis of environments specifies the relative predictive accuracies of the “take-the-best” heuristic (TTB) and other simple strategies for choices between two outcomes based on binary cues. We identify three factors: how cues are weighted; characteristics of choice sets; and error. In the absence of error and for cases involving from three to five binary cues, TTB is effective across many environments. However, hybrids of equal (...) weights (EW) and TTB models are more effective as environments become more compensatory. As error in the environment increases, the predictive ability of all models is systematically degraded. Indeed, using the datasets of Gigerenzer et al. (1999, Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart, New York: Oxford University Press), TTB and similar models do not predict much better than a naïve model that exploits dominance. Finally, we emphasize that the results reported here are conditional on binary cues. (shrink)
On one conception of “best interest” there can only be one course of action in a given situation that is in a person’s best interest. In this paper we will first consider what theories of “best interest” and rational decision-making that can lead to this conclusion and explore some of the less commonly appreciated implications of these theories. We will then move on to consider what ethical theories that are compatible with such a view and explore their (...) implications. In the second part of the paper we will explore a range of possible criticisms of these views. And in the third part we will criticise the view that a court is always or even often in a good position to decide what the patient’s best interest is. In the fourth and final part we will put forward a reconstructive proposal aimed at saving whatever is sound in the “best interest” conception. (shrink)
This article comments briefly on three specific issues in Shazia Choudhry’s paper “‘Best Interests’ What can healthcare law learn from family law?” The three issues are: (1) the implications of ‘best interests’ and ‘welfare science’ for women within the family law and the health care law context, (2) the risk of capture by the ‘welfare science’ industry, and (3) the proposal that a committee of medical experts and medical ethicists should be set up to provide reports to the (...) Court of Protection on cases brought under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). I argue that the risk of capture by ‘welfare science’ is equally large in health care law and that a committee of the kind envisaged by Choudhry is unlikely to contribute significantly to conflict resolution under the MCA. (shrink)
This paper explores how knowledge is exchanged between agricultural advisors and farmers in the context of sustainable farming practices in England. Specifically the paper examines the nature of the knowledge exchange at the encounters between one group of advisors, agronomists, and farmers. The promotion of best management practices, which are central to the implementation of sustainable agricultural policies in England, provide the empirical context for this study. The paper uses the notion of expert and facilitative approaches as a conceptual (...) framework for analyzing knowledge exchange encounters between agronomists and farmers. Data were derived from semi-structured interviews with 31 agronomists and 17 farmers, in the context of three initiatives promoting a range of best management practices including (a) targeted use of nitrogen (N), (b) use of nutrients within manure, and (c) management practices to improve soil structure. The interviews revealed that, although many agronomist–farmer knowledge exchange encounters are characterized by an imbalance of power, distrust, and the divergence of knowledge, other encounters provide a platform for the facilitation of farmer learning in their transition to more sustainable practices. (shrink)
We study a best-of-two contest with two homogeneous players (teams). The winner is the player who wins in both stages. In the case of one victory for each team, a draw determines the identity of the winner. Each team has a value of winning the contest as well as a value of winning a single game. A team’s value of winning a game at its home field is higher than its value of winning a game away from home. We (...) show that if winning in the first stage provides a psychological advantage in the second stage, each team would prefer to play the second stage at its home field. (shrink)
Amongst the environmental and social externalities generated by Australian agriculture are a number of risks both to the health and safety of communities living near sites of agricultural production, and to the end consumers of agricultural products. Responses to these potential risks – and to problems of environmental sustainability more generally – have included a number of programs to variously: define “best-practice” for particular industries; implement “Quality Assurance” procedures; and encourage the formation of self-help community “Landcare” groups. Taken together, (...) these programs appear to deal comprehensively with both the social and environmental risks associated with agricultural production and products. However, these programs may also be interpreted as strategies that actually encourage the further intensification of agriculture, while attempting to reassure consumers that their food is safe and that farmers are doing “all they can” to protect the environment. Investigation of the Australian cotton and beef industries illustrates a number of strategies that have become evident between farmers, agri-science agencies, and the retail sector to manage these risks and define good farming practices in ways that satisfy their own perceived interests. Contrary to the image, therefore, of “green consumption” that is emerging as an integrated concern for “clean” (and thereby “healthy”) and sustainably produced foods, it appears that mainstream agricultural industries have bifurcated these concerns in ways that distract attention from production and processing methods, leaving conflict over on-farm production methods a characteristic only of those industries believed to have direct health impacts on nearby communities. (shrink)
In this article I will show that ‘best interests’ is a concept that fits nicely with many of the features of pragmatism—Holm and Edgar’s rejection of the principle in favour of pragmatism it will be suggested is misplaced. ‘Best interests’ as a principle may be considered an embodiment of the ideals of pragmatic adjudication. The paper starts by briefly introducing the concept of ‘best interests’ and theories of judicial and legal ‘pragmatism’. This article will examine the role (...) of the rational decision-maker in medical law and argue that this role is limited. The paper concludes by suggesting how we view the relationship between ‘best interests’ and ‘pragmatism’. (shrink)
This paper is a response to a paper by John Coggon ‘Best Interests, Public Interest, and the Power of the Medical Profession'. It argues that certain legal judgements in relation to best interests seek to change and curtail the role of the medical profession in this arena while simultaneously extending the jurisdiction of the courts. It also argues that we must guard against replacing one professional standard, that of the medical profession, with another, that of the judiciary in (...) this area. (shrink)
This article critically examines, and ultimately rejects, the best interest standard as the predominant, go-to ethical and legal standard of decision making for children. After an introduction to the presumption of parental authority, it characterizes and distinguishes six versions of the best interest standard according to two key dimensions related to the types of interests emphasized. Then the article brings three main criticisms against the best interest standard: (1) that it is ill-defined and inconsistently appealed to and (...) applied, (2) that it is unreasonably demanding and narrow, and (3) that it fails to respect the family. Finally, it argues that despite the best interest standard’s potent rhetorical power, it is irreparably encumbered by too much inconsistency and confusion and should be rejected. (shrink)
This paper argues that the concept of best interests in the context of clinical decisions draws on concepts rooted in the philosophical discipline of axiology. Reflection on the philosophical origins enables a distinction to be drawn between those interests related to clinical goals and those global interests that are axiological in nature. The implication of this distinction is most clearly seen in the context of end of life decisions and it is argued here that greater weight ought to be (...) given to the positive requests, and not merely competent refusals, of patients at the end of life. (shrink)
In this paper I adduce a new argument in support of the claim that IBE is an autonomous (indispensable) form of inference, based on a familiar, yet surprisingly, under-discussed, problem for Hume’s theory of induction. I then use some insights thereby gleaned to argue for the (reductionist) claim that induction is really IBE, and draw some normative conclusions.
In his early lecture note Versuch einiger Betrachtungen über den Optimismus (1759) a young supporter of metaphysical optimism called Immanuel Kant tested the Leibnizian optimism by posing some counter-arguments against it only to falsify them. His counter-arguments were very inventive and they feature often in modern scholarship on Leibniz. In this paper I will present Kant’s main arguments and evaluate them. I will argue that Kant’s understanding on Leibnizian optimism is little misguided and for this reason his own positive counter-argument (...) despite its ingeniousness is problematic. His second solution to the problem is comparable to the doctrine of metaphysical optimism, but fails also for the same reason as the first one. -/- . (shrink)
[Susan Hurley] I argue that the aim to neutralize the influence of luck on distribution cannot provide a basis for egalitarianism: it can neither specify nor justify an egalitarian distribution. Luck and responsibility can play a role in determining what justice requires to be redistributed, but from this we cannot derive how to distribute: we cannot derive a pattern of distribution from the 'currency' of distributive justice. I argue that the contrary view faces a dilemma, according to whether it (...) understands luck in interpersonal or counterfactual terms. /// [Richard J. Arneson] Does it make sense to hold that, if it is bad that some people are worse off than others, it is worse if those who are worse off come to be so through sheer bad luck that it is beyond their power to control? In her contribution to this symposium, Susan Hurley cautions against a closely related fallacy: from the fact that people have come to an unequal condition through unchosen bad luck, it does not follow that, if we aim to undo the influence of unchosen luck, we ought to institute equality of condition. Forswearing the fallacy that Hurley analyses is compatible with answering the question affirmatively, and more generally with holding that principles of distributive justice should be sensitive to the distinction between chosen and unchosen bad luck. This essay explores how this might be done. (shrink)
The question of when we have justification for overriding ordinary, everyday decisions of persons with dementia is considered. It is argued that no single criterion for competent decision-making is able to distinguish reliably between decisions we can legitimately override and decisions we cannot legitimately override.
Perhaps the most troubling medical decisionmaking cases facing state courts involve serious health care decisions for persons with severe or profound mental retardation. Existing legal standards such as substituted judgment and best interests limit or skew relevant information. As an alternative, a best respect legal standard would prod decision makers to exhaust additional sources of information before making a surrogate medical decision. Such a legal standard also offers a more complete approach to all surrogate medical decisions.