Machine generated contents note: Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Three approaches to conscientiousobjection in health care: conscience absolutism, the incompatibility thesis, and compromise; 3. Ethical limitations on the exercise of conscience; 4. Pharmacies, health care institutions, and conscientiousobjection; 5. Students, residents, and conscience-based exemptions; 6. Conscience clauses: too little and too much protection; References.
This article argues that practitioners have a professional ethical obligation to dispense emergency contraception, even given conscientiousobjection to this treatment. This recent controversy affects all medical professionals, including physicians as well as pharmacists. This article begins by analyzing the option of referring the patient to another willing provider. Objecting professionals may conscientiously refuse because they consider emergency contraception to be equivalent to abortion or because they believe contraception itself is immoral. This article critically evaluates these reasons and (...) concludes that they do not successfully support conscientiousobjection in this context. Contrary to the views of other thinkers, it is not possible to easily strike a respectful balance between the interests of objecting providers and patients in this case. As medical professionals, providers have an ethical duty to inform women of this option and provide emergency contraception when this treatment is requested. (shrink)
In response to physicians who refuse to provide medical services that are contrary to their ethical and/or religious beliefs, it is sometimes asserted that anyone who is not willing to provide legally and professionally permitted medical services should choose another profession. This article critically examines the underlying assumption that conscientiousobjection is incompatible with a physician’s professional obligations (the “incompatibility thesis”). Several accounts of the professional obligations of physicians are explored: general ethical theories (consequentialism, contractarianism, and rights-based theories), (...) internal morality (essentialist and non-essentialist conceptions), reciprocal justice, social contract, and promising. It is argued that none of these accounts of a physician’s professional obligations unequivocally supports the incompatibility thesis. (shrink)
Abortion is the central issue in the conscientiousobjection debate. In this article I demonstrate why this is so for two philosophical viewpoints prominent in American culture. One, represented by Patrick Lee and Robert P. George, holds that the fundamental moral value of being human can be found in bare life and the other, represented by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, holds that this fundamental value is found in the life that can choose and determine itself. First, I (...) articulate Lee and George’s philosophical theory and demonstrate how the fundamental moral value of their theory, personhood, is represented in the issue of abortion. Second, I examine Beauchamp and Childress’ theoretical vision and demonstrate how their fundamental moral value, the right to autonomous self-determination, is represented in abortion. Third, I sketch the theoretical and practical dynamics of the conscientiousobjection debate as well as each author’s understanding of conscience. Fourth, I demonstrate how abortion, which represents their respective fundamental value, shapes each perspectives’ approach to the conscientiousobjection debate. I conclude that because each theory finds its fundamental value represented in the issue of abortion, each perspective is bound to engage the conscientiousobjection debate in a way that centers on the issue of abortion. (shrink)
Defenders of medical professionals’ rights to conscientiousobjection (CO) regarding emergency contraception (EC) draw an analogy to CO in the military. Such professionals object to EC since it has the possibility of harming zygotic life, yet if we accept this analogy and utilize jurisprudence to frame the associated public policy, those who refuse to dispense EC would not have their objection honored. Legal precedent holds that one must consistently object to all forms of the relevant activity. In (...) the case at hand, then, I argue that these professionals must also oppose morally innocuous practices that may prevent pregnancy after fertilization. These results reveal that such objectors cannot offer a plausible and consistent objection to harming zygotic life. Additionally, there are good reasons to reject the analogy itself. In either case, these findings call into question the case supporting refusals of EC based on scruples. (shrink)
This essay explores some of the conceptual and moral issues raised by illegal actions in health care. The author first identifies several types of illegal action, concentrating on civil disobedience, conscientiousobjection or refusal, and evasive noncompliance. Then he sketches a framework for the moral justification of these types of illegal action. Finally, he applies the conceptual and normative frameworks to several major cases of illegal action in health care, such as "mercy killing" and some decisions not to (...) treat incompetent patients. Keywords: illegal actions, mercy killing, non-treatment of incompetent patients, civil disobedience, conscientiousobjection, evasive non-compliance, moral justification and disobedience, dissent in health care CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Whether refusal is an act of civil disobedience meant to challenge the state politically as a form of protest, or an action which reflects a deep moral objection to the policies of the state, selective conscientiousobjection presents the state and its citizens with a number of difficult legal and moral challenges. Appeals to authority outside of the state, whether religious or secular, influence both citizenship and the behavior of the government itself. As Israel raises funds to (...) defend IDF officers from charges of human rights violations in the United Kingdom, it may find itself in need of a better defense against those citizens hesitant to be placed in harm's way, militarily and legally. At some point in the future it may find itself unable to field soldiers for whom service in the Occupied Territories is prohibited by inviolable secular or religious law. And for those who will continue to argue that they cannot abide service in an army of occupation, an expression sounded in 1968 by Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the moral crisis of an individual conscience rent between obligations to the state and obligations to self, will linger along with the pain of a conscience nurtured and then rejected by this democratic society. (shrink)
Currently, the preferred accommodation for conscientiousobjection to abortion in medicine is to allow the objector to refuse to accede to the patient’s request so long as the objector refers the patient to a physician who performs abortions. The referral part of this arrangement is controversial, however. Pro-life advocates claim that referrals make objectors complicit in the performance of acts that they, the objectors, find morally offensive. McLeod argues that the referral requirement is justifiable, although not in the (...) way that people usually assume. (shrink)
The so-called ‘morning-after pill’ is a drug that prevents pregnancy if taken no later than 72 hours after presumably fertile sexual intercourse. This article argues against a right of conscientiousobjection for pharmacists with regard to dispensing this drug. Some arguments that might be advanced in support of this right will be considered and rejected. Section 2 argues that from a philosophical point of view, the most relevant question is not whether the morning-after pill prevents implantation nor is (...) it whether preventing implantation is tantamount to abortion. Section 3 suggests a more general philosophical question as most pertinent, namely whether and to what extent a pharmacist can justifiably be exempted from dispensing the morning-after pill when to do so would entail participating in something that goes against his or her deepest moral or religious convictions. Section 4 explains why, within liberal institutions, pharmacists should not have the right to conscientiousobjection to dispensing the morning-after pill. (shrink)
Conscience and ConscientiousObjection of Health Care Professionals Refocusing the Issue Content Type Journal Article Pages 351-364 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9113-x Authors Natasha T. Morton, The University of Western Ontario Ontario Canada N6A 5B9 Kenneth W. Kirkwood, Arthur and Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building London Ontario Canada N6A 5B9 Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 4.
Emergency contraception — also known as the morning after pill — is marketed and sold, under various brand names, in over one hundred countries around the world. In some countries, customers can purchase the drug without a prescription. In others, a prescription must be presented to a licensed pharmacist. In virtually all of these countries, pharmacists are the last link in the chain of delivery. This article examines and ultimately rejects several standard moves in the bioethics literature on the right (...) of pharmacists conscientiously to refuse to dispense emergency contraception. Its central thesis is that the standard ‘moderate’ solution to this problem is mistaken. Thus, when all publicly relevant interests are given their due, it is not acceptable to allow refusals in the big city, where pharmacies are plentiful, but forbid them in rural settings, where pharmacies are scarce. Rather, there should be strong public policy requiring that all pharmacists dispense emergency contraception to customers who request it, regardless of pharmacists' moral or religious objections. (shrink)
: This paper examines the obligations of pharmacy licensees and pharmacists in the context of conscience-based objections to filling lawful prescriptions for certain types of medications—e.g., standard and emergency contraceptives. Claims of conscience are analyzed as means to preserve or maintain an individual's moral integrity. It is argued that pharmacy licensees have an obligation to dispense prescription medications that satisfy the health needs of the populations they serve, and this obligation can override claims of conscience. Although efforts should be made (...) to respect the moral integrity of pharmacists and accommodate their claims of conscience, it is argued that the health needs of patients and the professional obligations of pharmacists limit the extent to which pharmacists may refuse to assist patients who have lawful prescriptions for medically indicated drugs. (shrink)
Legitimate authority -- The claims of law -- Legal positivism and the sources of law -- Legal reasons, sources, and gaps -- The identity of legal systems -- The institutional nature of law -- Kelsen's theory of the basic norm -- Legal validity -- The functions of law -- Law and value in adjudication -- The rule of law and its virtue -- The obligation to obey the law -- Respect for law -- A right to dissent? : civil disobedience (...) -- A right to dissent? : conscientiousobjection --The purity of the pure theory -- The argument from justice, or how not to reply to legal positivism. (shrink)
Contra Michael Walzer and Jeff McMahan, neither classical just war theory nor the contemporary rules of war require or support any notion of combatant moral equality. Nations rightly accept prohibitions against punishing enemy combatants without recognizing any legal or moral right of aggressors to kill. The notion of combatant moral equality has real import only in our interpersonal -- and intrapersonal -- attitudes, since the notion effectively preempts any ground for conscientiousobjection. Walzer is criticized for over-emphasizing our (...) collective responses to war conduct and slighting our personal, extra-political responses. (shrink)
In England and Wales, there is significant controversy on the law related to abortion. Recent discussions have focussed predominantly on the health professional's right to conscientiousobjection. This article argues for a comprehensive overhaul of the law from the perspective of an author who adopts the view that all unborn human beings should be granted the prima facie right to life. It is argued that, should the law be modified in accordance with this stance, it need not imply (...) that health professionals should enjoy an unqualified right to object to participating in the provision of abortion. Indeed, it is proposed that – in some situations – women should be granted a positive right to abortion. While the focus of this article is on changing the law in England and Wales, it is hoped that the position developed here will also inspire legal debate and reform elsewhere. (shrink)
This book shows that civil disobedience is generally more defensible than private conscientiousobjection. -/- Part I explores the morality of conviction and conscience. Each of these concepts informs a distinct argument for civil disobedience. The conviction argument begins with the communicative principle of conscientiousness. According to this principle, having a conscientious moral conviction means not just acting consistently with our beliefs and judging ourselves and others by a common moral standard. It also means not seeking to (...) evade the consequences of our beliefs and being willing to communicate to them to others. The conviction argument shows that, as a constrained, communicative practice, civil disobedience has a better claim than private objection does to the protections that liberal societies give to conscientious dissent. This view reverses the standard liberal picture which sees private 'conscientious' objection as a modest act of personal belief and civil disobedience as a strategic, undemocratic act whose costs are only sometimes worth bearing. -/- The conscience argument is narrower and shows that genuinely morally responsive civil disobedience honours the best of our moral responsibilities and is protected by a duty-based moral right of conscience. -/- Part II translates the conviction argument and conscience argument into two legal defences. The first is a demands-of-conviction defence. The second is a necessity defence. Both of these defences apply more readily to civil disobedience than to private disobedience. Part II also examines lawful punishment, showing that, even when punishment is justifiable, civil disobedients have a moral right not to be punished. (shrink)
Michael Walzer suggests that our common beliefs about individual responsibility and liability become largely irrelevant in the conduct of war. In conditions of war, everything is changed. Political realists have claimed that war eliminates morality; Walzer claims that war collectivizes it. I believe that conditions of war change nothing at all; they simply make it more difficult to ascertain relevant facts. This is not to say that the principles and laws that do or should govern the activity of war are (...) identical to those governing relations among individuals. Just as domestic law cannot simply restate the principles of individual morality, because the declaration and enforcement of laws have effects that must be taken into account in the formulation of the law, so too the principles, conventions, and laws of war cannot simply restate the principles of individual or international morality. The rules of war have to accommodate our epistemic limitations and to be formulated with a regard for the ways in which their announcement is likely to affect people’s behavior. But they should otherwise reflect as closely as possible the.. (shrink)
In an article published recently in this journal Daniel Hill argues that it is unacceptable that British law allows doctors to refuse to terminate non-emergency pregnancies but not to refuse to refer given that many doctors who are opposed to non-emergency abortion will be opposed also to any action that aids non-emergency abortion, including the action of referral. In this reply, I argue that Hill’s argument fails to describe properly the correct function of the law, which has never been about (...) ensuring people can exercise moral consistency in their behaviours. (shrink)
Pharmacists who refuse to provide certain services or treatment for reasons of conscience have been criticized for failing to fulfil their professional obligations. Currently, individual pharmacists in Great Britain can withhold services or treatment for moral or religious reasons, provided they refer the patient to an alternative source. The most high-profile cases have concerned the refusal to supply emergency hormonal contraception, which will serve as an example in this article.I propose that the pharmacy profession's policy on conscientious objections should (...) be altered slightly. Building on the work of Brock and Wicclair, I argue that conscientious refusals should be acceptable provided that the patient is informed of the service, the patient is redirected to an alternative source, the refusal does not cause an unreasonable burden to the patient, and the reasons for the refusal are based on the core values of the profession. Finally, I argue that a principled categorical refusal by an individual pharmacist is not morally permissible. I claim that, contrary to current practice, a pharmacist cannot legitimately claim universal exemption from providing a standard service, even if that service is available elsewhere. (shrink)
: Managed care organizations can produce conflicts of obligation and conflicts of interest that may lead to problems of conscience for health care professionals. This paper provides a basis for understanding the notions of conscience and conscientiousobjection and offers a framework for clinicians to stake out positions grounded in personal conscience as a way for them to respond to unacceptable pressures from managers to limit services.
The removal of life-sustaining treatment often brings physicians into conflict with patients. Because of their moral beliefs physicians often respond slowly to the request of patients or their families. People in bioethics have been quick to recommend that in cases of conflict the physician should simply sign off the case and "step aside". This is not easily done psychologically or morally. Such a resolution also masks a number of more subtle, quite trouble some problems that conflict with the commitment to (...) toleration and moral diversity that it is intended to support. These conflicts are detailed and evaluated. Keywords: collisions, conscientiousobjection, limits to toleration, moral diversity, patient, physician, toleration CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Some philosophers have argued for what I call the reason-giving requirement for conscientious refusal in reproductive healthcare. According to this requirement, healthcare practitioners who conscientiously object to administering standard forms of treatment must have arguments to back up their conscience, arguments that are purely public in character. I argue that such a requirement, though attractive in some ways, faces an overlooked epistemic problem: it is either too easy or too difficult to satisfy in standard cases. I close by briefly (...) considering whether a version of the reason-giving requirement can be salvaged despite this important difficulty. (shrink)
Some medical services have long generated deep moral controversy within the medical profession as well as in broader society and have led to conscientious refusals by some physicians to provide those services to their patients. More recently, pharmacists in a number of states have refused on grounds of conscience to fill legal prescriptions for their customers. This paper assesses these controversies. First, I offer a brief account of the basis and limits of the claim to be free to act (...) on one’s conscience. Second, I sketch an account of the basis of the medical and pharmacy professions’ responsibilities and the process by which they are specified and change over time. Third, I then set out and defend what I call the “conventional compromise” as a reasonable accommodation to conflicts between these professions’ responsibilities and the moral integrity of their individual members. Finally, I take up and reject the complicity objection to the conventional compromise. Put together, this provides my answer to the question posed in the title of my paper: “Conscientious refusal by physicians and pharmacists: who is obligated to do what, and why?”. (shrink)
Liberal states ought to accommodate conscientious tax resistance for the same reasons they should accommodate conscientiousobjection to fighting in war. Conscientiousobjection to fighting is nothing special.
Consequentialism, many philosophers have claimed, asks too much of us to be a plausible ethical theory. Indeed, the theory's severe demandingness is often claimed to be its chief flaw. My thesis is that as we come to better understand this objection, we see that, even if it signals or tracks the existence of a real problem for Consequentialism, it cannot itself be a fundamental problem with the view. The objection cannot itself provide good reason to break with Consequentialism, (...) because it must presuppose prior and independent breaks with the view. The way the objection measures the demandingness of an ethical theory reflects rather than justifies being in the grip of key anti-Consequentialist conclusions. We should reject Consequentialism independently of the Objection or not at all. Thus, we can reduce by one the list of worrisome fundamental complaints against Consequentialism. (shrink)
In this paper I consider Saul Kripke’s famous Humphrey objection to David Lewis’s views on de re modality and argue that responses to this objection currently on the market fail to mitigate its force in any significant way.
Rationality (or something similar) is usually given as the relevant difference between all humans and animals; the reason humans do but animals do not deserve moral consideration. But according to the Argument from Marginal Cases not all humans are rational, yet if such (marginal) humans are morally considerable despite lacking rationality it would be arbitrary to deny animals with similar capacities a similar level of moral consideration. The slippery slope objection has it that although marginal humans are not strictly (...) speaking morally considerable, we should give them moral consideration because if we do not we will slide down a slippery slope where we end up by not giving normal humans due consideration. I argue that this objection fails to show that marginal humans have the kind of direct moral status proponents of the slippery slope argument have in mind. (shrink)
Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about being (...) overly alienating. This is so because, unlike objectivist theories, hybrid theories place a pro-attitude constraint on well-being. However, from the point of view of objectivists, hybrid theories are not objectivist enough, and this can be seen clearly in missing-desires cases. For instance, hybrid theories entail that, if someone lacks the desire for health, then health is not a component of her well-being. This, objectivists say, is implausible. It is obvious, objectivists say, that someone’s life goes better for herself inasmuch as she is healthy, and hence that health is a component of her welfare. This paper focuses on the missing-desires objection (as leveled by objectivists) to hybrid theories of well-being. My argument is that the missing-desires objection can be answered in a way that is generally convincing and, in particular, in a way that pays a good deal of respect to objectivist intuitions about well-being. My hope, then, is that this paper will help to persuade objectivists about well-being to become hybrid theorists. (shrink)
This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet according to Turing, there was no upper bound to the number of mathematical truths provable by intelligent human beings, for they could invent new rules and methods of proof. So, the output of a human mathematician, for (...) Turing, was not a computable sequence (i.e., one that could be generated by a Turing machine). Since computers only contained a finite number of instructions (or programs), one might argue, they could not reproduce human intelligence. Turing called this the “mathematical objection” to his view that machines can think. Logico-mathematical reasons, stemming from his own work, helped to convince Turing that it should be possible to reproduce human intelligence, and eventually compete with it, by developing the appropriate kind of digital computer. He felt it should be possible to program a computer so that it could learn or discover new rules, overcoming the limitations imposed by the incompleteness and undecidability results in the same way that human mathematicians presumably do. (shrink)
Just war theory entails that some wars may be morally unjustifiable, and hence citizens may be right to object morally to their government''s waging of a war and to their being compelled to serve in it. Given the evils attendant upon even justified war, this fact sharply restricts any obligation to die for the state, and raises important questions about the appropriate state response to selective conscientious objectors. This paper argues that such people should be legally accommodated, and discusses (...) objections to doing so, in particular, the possible erosion of the state''s capacity to wage justified war, the unfairness of granting such exemptions from military service, and the impossibility of determining genuinely conscientiousobjection. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that van Fraassen’s “bad lot objection” against Inference to the Best Explanation [IBE] severely misses its mark. First, I show that the objection holds no special relevance to IBE; if the bad lot objection poses a serious problem for IBE, then it poses a serious problem for any inference form whatever. Second, I argue that, thankfully, it does not pose a serious threat to any inference form. Rather, the objection misguidedly blames (...) a form of inference for not achieving what it never set out to achieve in the first place. (shrink)
The Many Gods Objection (MGO) is widely viewed as a decisive criticism of Pascal’s Wager. By introducing a plurality of hypotheses with infinite expected utility into the decision matrix, the wagerer is left without adequate grounds to decide between them. However, some have attempted to rebut this objection by employing various criteria drawn from the theological tradition. Unfortunately, such defenses do little good for an argument that is supposed to be an apologetic aimed at atheists and agnostics. The (...) purpose of this paper is to offer a defensive strategy of a different sort, one more suited to the Wager’s apologetic aim and status as a decision under ignorance. Instead of turning to criteria independent of the Wager, it will be shown that there are characteristics already built into its decision theoretic structure that can be used to block many categories of theological hypotheses including MGO’s more outrageous “cooked-up” hypotheses and “philosophers’ fictions”. (shrink)
Several possible approaches can be applied by the state when it responds to religious conscientious objections. These approaches compare the response to religious-conscientious objections with that to non-religious objections. If the content of the objector’s conscience is significant when deciding to grant conscientious exemptions, three approaches to the practice of granting conscientious exemptions are possible: First, a non-neutral liberal approach that takes into consideration the content of the conscience but not its religiosity as such; second, a (...) pro-religious approach; and third, an anti-religious approach. This paper contends that the non-neutral liberal approach and the pro-religious approach should be rejected in favor of an anti-religious approach to granting conscientious exemptions. The proposed anti-religious approach is as follows: (1) unjustified intolerance should not be tolerated; (2) empirical evidence links religion and intolerance – that is, people’s responses to measures of religion and intolerance are closely related; (3) theoretical evidence links (some) religions and intolerance; and (4) the religiosity of conscience gives the state a reason to refuse to grant conscientious exemptions. (shrink)
The literature on conscience in medicine has paid little attention to what is meant by the word ‘conscience.’ This article distinguishes between retrospective and prospective conscience, distinguishes synderesis from conscience, and argues against intuitionist views of conscience. Conscience is defined as having two interrelated parts: (1) a commitment to morality itself; to acting and choosing morally according to the best of one’s ability, and (2) the activity of judging that an act one has done or about which one is deliberating (...) would violate that commitment. Tolerance is defined as mutual respect for conscience. A set of boundary conditions for justifiable respect for conscientiousobjection in medicine is proposed. (shrink)
Acts of civil disobedience and conscientiousobjection provide valuable indications of the congruence of political outcomes with citizens’ conceptions of justice and the good. As their primary concern is substantive, their logic seems extraneous to procedural approaches to justice. Accordingly, it has often been argued that these latter condemn citizens to a ‘deaf-and-blind’ acceptance of the outcomes of agreed procedures. A closer analysis of such acts of contestation shall reveal that although, for proceduralism, the outcomes of just procedures (...) cannot be contested as unjust , they may be contested on the ground of values other than justice, such as someone’s religious/ethical allegiances. Proceduralism about justice will be thus shown to be consistent with the commitment to realising certain outcome-oriented values. (shrink)
Current General Medical Council guidelines state that any doctor who does not wish to carry out a non-therapeutic circumcision (NTC) on a boy must invoke conscientiousobjection. This paper argues that this is illogical, as it is clear that an ethical doctor will object to conducting a clinically unnecessary operation on a child who cannot consent simply because of the parents’ religious beliefs. Comparison of the GMC guidelines with the more sensible British Medical Association guidance reveals that both (...) are biased in favour of NTC and subvert standard consent procedures. It is further argued that any doctor who does participate in non-therapeutic circumcision of a minor may be guilty of negligence and in breach of the Human Rights Act. In fact, the GMC guidance implies that doctors must claim conscientiousobjection if they do not wish to be negligent. Both sets of guidelines should be changed to ensure an objective consent process and avoid confusion over the ethics of NTC. (shrink)
Lying is a common phenomenon amongst human beings. It seems to play a role in making social interactions run more smoothly. Too much honesty can be regarded as impolite or downright rude. Remarkably, lying is not a common phenomenon amongst normally intelligent human beings who are on the autism spectrum. They appear to be ‘attractively morally innocent’ and seem to have an above average moral conscientiousobjection against deception. In this paper, the behavior of persons with autism with (...) regard to deception and truthfulness will be discussed in the light of two different ethical theories, illustrated by fragments from autobiographies of persons with autism. A systemizing ‘Kantian’ and an empathizing ‘ethics of care’ perspective reveal insights on high-functioning autism, truthfulness and moral behavior. Both perspectives are problematic from the point of view of a moral agent with autism. High-functioning persons with autism are, generally speaking, strong systemizes and weak empathizers. Particularly, they lack ‘cognitive empathy’ which would allow them to understand the position of the other person. Instead, some tend to invent a set of rules that makes their behavior compatible with the expectations of others. From a Kantian point of view, the autistic tendency to always tell the truth appears praiseworthy and should not be changed, though it creates problems in the social life of persons with autism. From a care ethics perspective, on the other hand, a way should be found to allow the high-functioning persons with autism to respect the feelings and needs of other persons as sometimes overruling the duty of truthfulness. We suggest this may even entail ‘morally educating’ children and adolescents with autism to become socially skilled empathic ‘liars’. (shrink)
One of the most intriguing questions in medical ethics is whether individual physicians ought to be able to refuse conscientiously to provide services that patients seek. The issue requires us to delve into difficult problems, such as the extent to which physicians must subordinate their interests to those of their current or prospective patients, and how essential the services physicians object to are as new medical technologies develop. Despite the difficulty that surrounds this issue, many bioethicists—like Dan Brock and Mark (...) Wicclair—have tried to address it in a single journal article. But Holly Fernandez Lynch is an exception. She gives conscientiousobjection in medicine (hereafter, “conscientious .. (shrink)
For many liberal democrats toleration has become a sort of pet-concept, to which appeal is made in the face of a myriad issues related to the treatment of minorities. Against the inflationary use of toleration, whether understood positively as recognition or negatively as forbearance, I argue that toleration may not provide the conceptual and normative tools to understand and address the claims for accommodation raised by at least one kind of significant minority: democratic dissenting minorities. These are individuals, or aggregates (...) of them, who oppose, on principled grounds, the outcomes of the majoritarian decision-making process. I argue that democratic dissenting minorities' claims are better understood as calls for respect for a person's capacity for self-legislation. I view respect as the cornerstone of justice in a liberal democracy: all norms resulting in a constraint on a person's conduct should be appropriately justified to her. I argue that the reconciliation of democratic dissenting minorities' claims requires an enhancement of the justificatory strategies of democratic decisions by enhancing in turn citizens' rights to political participation. This should be done both during decision making and after a provision is enacted by also securing space for contestation through such forms of illegal protest as civil disobedience and conscientiousobjection. (shrink)
This paper examines the tensions in classical liberal theory ? particularly that of Locke and Kant ? between reason and conscience, and in contemporary liberal theory between the demands of reasonableness and the dictates of conscience. We intend to show that the relationship between reasonableness and conscience is both unstable and necessary; on occasions there seems to exist a moral obligation to provide public reasons for our conduct and at other times the silent call of conscience precludes public justification of (...)conscientiousobjection or dissent. (shrink)
Throughout the 3-year war in Lebanon (1982-1985) and throughout the 7 years of the first Intifada (1987-1994), about 170 objecting reservists chose to adopt an unconventional mode of moral resolution for their dilemma about service in the conflict: they disobeyed the order to serve in the war zone when their unit was called up. They argued that such service would contradict the dictates of their conscience. At the outset, the intention of most of these reservists was to comply with orders (...) for general military service. They asked to serve within the Green Line. When their request was overruled and they continued to disregard their call-up, they were charged with a disciplinary offense (Israel has no legal provision for selective conscientiousobjection). They subsequently were tried by court-martial and were sentenced to 14-35 days in military prison, some of them more than once when they refused additional drafts. Their major conscientious claims revolve around two major constraints: resisting the unfair physical load of military reserve service and resisting the obligation to face morally no-win situations. I would further argue that even though most of the public and the senior army echelons were familiar with these two types of moral voices, they preferred to remove the conscientious soldiers from their posts, or to ignore the claims themselves. (shrink)
Provider claims to conscientiousobjection have generated a great deal of heated debate in recent years. However, the conflicts that arise when providers make claims to the "conscience" are only a subset of the more fundamental challenges that arise in health care practice when patients and providers come into conflict. In this piece, the author provides an account of patient-provider conflict from within the moral tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas. He argues that the practice of health care providers (...) should be understood as a form of practical reasoning and that this practical reasoning must necessarily incorporate both "moral" and "professional" commitments. In order to understand how the practical reasoning of provider should account for the needs and commitments of the patient and vice versa, he explores the account of dependence provided by Alasdair MacIntyre in his book Dependent Rational Animals. MacIntyre argues that St. Thomas’ account of practical reasoning should be extended and adapted to account for the embodied vulnerability of all humans. In light of this insight, providers must view patients not only as the subjects of their moral reflection but also as fellow humans upon whom the provider depends for feedback on the effectiveness and relevance of her practical reasoning. The author argues that this account precludes responsive providers from adopting either moral or professional conclusions on the appropriateness of interventions outside the individual circumstances that arise in particular situations. The adoption of this orientation toward patients will neither eradicate provider-patient conflict nor compel providers to perform interventions to which they object. But this account does require that providers attend meaningfully to the suffering of patients and seek feedback on whether their intervention has effectively addressed that suffering. (shrink)
McGovern, Kevin After a brief account of the Victorian Law Reform Act 2008, this article reports on three responses to this law in the last year. Because Section 8 of this law restricts the healthcare practitioner's usual right of conscientiousobjection, this article also discusses conscience and conscientiousobjection.
McGovern, Kevin This article explores how some of the ethical issues raised by Donation after Cardiac Death are addressed in Australia's new National Protocol. It endorses much of what has been established for the management of professional conflicts of interest, the management of conflicts between the wishes of donor and family, the use of ante mortem interventions, and the determination of death. However, it calls for a 5 minute observation time before the declaration of death, and a stronger statement about (...)conscientiousobjection. (shrink)
Riordan, Marcia This report on the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008 particularly considers the fact that it has denied health care professionals any right of conscientiousobjection. It sees this as part of an international attempt to deny conscientiousobjection against abortion, and to enforce abortion as an international human right.
The first premise of the Kalam cosmological argument has come under fire in the last few years. The premise states that the universe had a beginning, and one of two prominent arguments for it turns on the claim that an actual infinite collection of entities cannot exist. After stating the Kalam cosmological argument and the two approaches to defending its first premise, I respond to two objections against the notion that an actual infinite collection is impossible: a Platonistic objection (...) from abstract objects and a set-theoretic objection from an ambiguity in the definition of ‘=’ and ‘. (shrink)
The most famous objection to the ontological argument is given in Kant’s dictum that existence is not a real predicate. But it is not obvious how this slogan is supposed to relate to the ontological argument. Some, most notably Alvin Plantinga, have even judged Kant’s dictum to be totally irrelevant to Anselm’s version of the ontological argument. In this paper, I argue, against Plantinga and others, that Kant’s claim is indeed relevant to Anselm’s argument, in the straightforward sense that (...) if the claim is true, then Anselm’s argument is unsound. (shrink)
In the first part of this paper I will characterize the specific nature of rational intuition. It will be claimed that rational intuition is an evidential state with modal content that has an a priori source. This claim will be defended against several objections. The second part of the paper deals with the so-called explanationist objection against rational intuition as a justifying source. According to the best reading of this objection, intuition cannot justify any judgment since there is (...) no metaphysical explanation of its reliability. It will be argued that in the case of intuition the very demand of such an explanation is based on a category mistake. (shrink)
Pascal's Wager is finding ever more defenders who aim to undermine the old Many Gods Objection. It is my thesis that they are mistaken. After describing the Wager and the objection, I report on Jeff Jordan's repeated attempt to limit legitimate religious hypotheses to those that are traditional. In separate sections I criticize Jordan, first coming from epistemology and second from anthropology. Then I describe George Schlesinger's repeated appeal to the ‘simplest’ religious hypothesis, and argue that it fails (...) for similar reasons. Finally, I summarize and reject miscellaneous defences of Pascal by Robert Anderson, Bradley Armour-Garb, James Franklin, Joshua Golding, and Nicholas Rescher. (shrink)
I consider a recent attempt by Mark Schroeder in his book Being For to provide an expressivist semantics for the connectives, and I argue that it does not, as it claims, answer the ‘Frege-Geach objection&rsquo.
Utilitarians are attracted to the idea that an act is morally right iff it leads to the best outcome. But critics have pointed out that in many cases we cannot determine which of our alternatives in fact would lead to the best outcome. So we can’t use the classic principle to determine what we should do. It’s not “practical”; it’s not “action-guiding”. Some take this to be a serious objection to utilitarianism, since they think a moral theory ought to (...) be practical and action-guiding. In response, some utilitarians propose to modify utilitarianism by replacing talk of actual utility with talk of expected utility. Others propose to leave the original utilitarian principle in place, but to combine it with a decision procedure involving expected utility. What all these philosophers have in common is this: they move toward expected utility in order to defend utilitarianism against the impracticality objection. My aim in this paper is to cast doubt on this way of replying to the objection. My central claim is that if utilitarians are worried about the impracticality objection, they should not turn to expected utility utilitarianism. That theory does not provide the basis for a cogent reply to the objection. (shrink)
For purposes of this paper, a conscious state is a mental state whose subject is directly or at least nonevidentially aware of being in it. (The state does not count as conscious if the subject has only been told about it by a cognitive scientist or psychologist; introspectively would be better, but no one should say that a state is conscious only if its subject actively introspects it.). N.b., this usage is only one among several quite different though of course (...) not competing ones; the phrase has been used in at least two other senses, as by, respectively, Dretske (1993, 1995) and Block (1995).1 My definition is stipulative, but not brutely so; it settles on one thing that is often meant by conscious state cf. a conscious memory, a conscious desire, a conscious intention, a conscious decision. According to higher-order (HO) theories of consciousness in this sense of consciousness, what makes a mental state a conscious one is that it is represented by another of the subject’s mental states, that in virtue of which s/he is aware of it. Some practitioners follow Locke in taking the higher-order state to be quasi-perceptual (Armstrong, 1968, 1980, Lycan 1991, 1996); others say it may be merely a thought about the original state (Rosenthal, 1986, 1990).2 There is an alleged objection to such theories, that originated with Goldman (1993)Error: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMapError: Illegal entry in bfrange block in ToUnicode CMap3 and has since been voiced and discussed by others (Dretske 1995, Stubenberg 1998, Van Gulick 2000, 2005, Gennaro 2005, Kriegel 2009). I say alleged, because. (shrink)
I discuss Ingmar Persson’s recent argument that the Levelling Down Objection could be worse for prioritarians than for egalitarians. Persson’s argument depends upon the claim that indifference to changes in the average prioritarian value of benefits implies indifference to changes in the overall prioritarian value of a state of affairs. As I show, however, sensible conceptions of prioritarianism have no such implication. Therefore prioritarians have nothing to fear from the Levelling Down Objection.
It is considered to be a devastating objection to utilitarianism (and consequentialism) that it would sometimes favor deliberately punishing an innocent person. I call this The Objection. In this paper I try to find the origin of The Objection. Although various writers have suggested that it occurs much earlier, I claim that it emerged in Oxford in the late 1920's, and may have been invented by W. D. Ross.
In this paper, we show that presentism?the view that the way things are is the way things presently are?is not undermined by the objection from being-supervenience. This objection claims, roughly, that presentism has trouble accounting for the truth-value of past-tense claims. Our demonstration amounts to the articulation and defence of a novel version of presentism. This is brute past presentism, according to which the truth-value of past-tense claims is determined by the past understood as a fundamental aspect of (...) reality different from things and how things are. (shrink)
This paper is a review of work on Newman's objection to epistemic structural realism (ESR). In Section 2, a brief statement of ESR is provided. In Section 3, Newman's objection and its recent variants are outlined. In Section 4, two responses that argue that the objection can be evaded by abandoning the Ramsey-sentence approach to ESR are considered. In Section 5, three responses that have been put forward specifically to rescue the Ramsey-sentence approach to ESR from the (...) modern versions of the objection are discussed. Finally, in Section 6, three responses are considered that are neutral with respect to one's approach to ESR and all argue (in different ways) that the objection can be evaded by introducing the notion that some relations/structures are privileged over others. It is concluded that none of these suggestions is an adequate response to Newman's objection, which therefore remains a serious problem for ESRists. Introduction Epistemic Structural Realism 2.1 Ramsey-sentences and ESR 2.2 WESR and SESR The Objection 3.1 Newman's version 3.2 Demopoulos and Friedman's and Ketland's versions Replies that Abandon the Ramsey-Sentence Approach to ESR 4.1 Redhead's reply 4.2 French and Ladyman's reply Replies Designed to Rescue the Ramsey-Sentence Approach 5.1 Zahar's reply 5.2 Cruse's reply 5.3 Melia and Saatsi's reply Replies that Argue that Some Structures/Relations are Privileged 6.1 A Carnapian reply 6.2 Votsis' reply 6.3 The Merrill/Lewis/Psillos reply Summary CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
A pretence theory of a discourse is one which claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we utter when taking part in the discourse: instead, we are speaking from within a pretence. Jason Stanley argues that if a pretence account of a discourse is correct, people with autism should be incapable of successful participation in it; but since people with autism are capable of participiating successfully in the discourses which pretence theorists aim to (...) account for, all these accounts should be rejected. I discuss how pretence theorists can respond, and apply this discussion to two pretence theories, Stephen Yablo's account of arithmetic and Kendall Walton's account of negative existentials. I show how Yablo and Walton can escape Stanley's objection. (shrink)
What is the relation between a clay statue andthe lump of clay from which it is made? According to the defender of the standardaccount, the statue and the lump are distinct,enduring objects that share the same spatiallocation whenever they both exist. Suchobjects also seem to share the samemicrophysical structure whenever they bothexist. This leads to the standard objection tothe standard account: if the statue and thelump of clay have the same microphysicalstructure whenever they both exist, how canthey differ in (...) their de re temporalproperties, de re modal properties and soon? In this paper I develop amereological answer to this question – thestatue and the lump differ with respect totheir parts and this explains theirdifference with respect to de re temporalproperties, de re modal properties andthe like. (shrink)
In this paper I refute an apparently obvious objection to Frankfurt-type counterexamples to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities according to which if in the counterfactual scenario the agent does not act, then the agent could have avoided acting in the actual scenario. And because what happens in the counterfactual scenario cannot count as the relevant agent’s actions given the sort of external control that agent is under, then we can ground responsibility on that agent having been able to avoid (...) acting. I illustrate how this objection to Frankfurt’s famous counterexample is motivated by Frankfurt’s own ‘guidance’ view of agency. My argument consists in showing that even if we concede that the agent does not act in the counterfactual scenario, that does not show that the agent could have avoided acting in the actual scenario. This depends on the crucial distinction between ‘not φ-ing’ and ‘avoiding φ-ing’. (shrink)
When it is suggested that the fine-tuning of the universe for life provides evidence for a cosmic designer, the multiple-universe hypothesis is often presented as an alternative. Some philosophers object that the multiple-universe hypothesis fails to explain why ’this’ universe is fine-tuned for life. We suggest the "this universe" objection is no better than the "this planet" objection. We also fault proponents of the "this universe" objection for presupposing that we could not have existed in any other (...) universe and that the values of the free parameters of the universe could have been different. Lastly, we reflect on why fine-tuning for life needs explaining. (shrink)
One of the primary motivations behind moral anti-realism is a deep-rooted scepticism about moral knowledge. Moral realists attempt counter this worry by sketching a plausible moral epistemology. One of the most radical proposals in the recent literature is that we know moral facts by perception – we can literally see that an action is wrong, etc. A serious objection to moral perception is the causal objection. It is widely conceded that perception requires a causal connection between the perceived (...) and the perceiver. But, the objection continues, we are not in appropriate causal contact with moral properties. Therefore, we cannot perceive moral properties. This papers demonstrates that the causal objection is unsound whether moral properties turn out to be secondary, natural properties; non-secondary, natural properties; or non-natural properties. 1. (shrink)
According to Field’s influential incompleteness objection, Tarski’s semantic theory of truth is unsatisfactory since the definition that forms its basis is incomplete in two distinct senses: (1) it is physicalistically inadequate, and for this reason, (2) it is conceptually deficient. In this paper, I defend the semantic theory of truth against the incompleteness objection by conceding (1) but rejecting (2). After arguing that Davidson and McDowell’s reply to the incompleteness objection fails to pass muster, I argue that, (...) within the constraints of a non-reductive physicalism and a holism concerning the concepts of truth, reference and meaning, conceding Field’s physicalistic inadequacy conclusion while rejecting his conceptual deficiency conclusion is a promising reply to the incompleteness objection. (shrink)
A common objection raised against naturalism is that anaturalized epistemology cannot account for the essential normative character of epistemology. Following an analysis of different ways in which this charge could be understood, it will be argued that either epistemology is not normative in the relevant sense, or if it is, then in a way which a naturalized epistemology can account for with an instrumental and hypothetical model of normativity. Naturalism is here captured by the two doctrines of empiricism and (...) gradualism. Epistemology is a descriptive discipline about what knowledge is and under what conditions a knowledge-claim is justified. However, we can choose to adopt a standard of justification and by doing so be evaluated by it. In this sense our epistemic practices have a normative character, but this is a form of normativity a naturalized epistemology can make room for. The normativity objection thus fails. However, in the course of this discussion, as yet another attempt to clarify the normativity objection, such a naturalistic model will be contrasted with Donald Davidson's theory of interpretation. Even though this comparison will not improve upon the negative verdict upon the original objection, it will be argued that naturalism cannot accept Davidson's theory since it contains at least one constitutive principle – the principle of charity – whose epistemic status is incompatible with the naturalistic doctrine of gradualism. So, if this principle has this role, then epistemology cannot be naturalized. (shrink)
According to luck egalitarianism, inequalities are justified if and only if they arise from choices for which it is reasonable to hold agents responsible. This position has been criticised for its purported harshness in responding to the plight of individuals who, through their own choices, end up destitute. This paper aims to assess the Harshness Objection. I put forward a version of the objection that has been qualified to take into account some of the more subtle elements of (...) the luck egalitarian approach. Revising the objection in this way suggests that the Harshness Objection has been overstated by its proponents: because luck egalitarians are sensitive to the influence of unequal brute luck on individuals’ choices, it is unlikely that there will be any real world cases in which the luck egalitarian would not have to provide at least partial compensation. However, the Harshness Objection still poses problems for the luck egalitarian. First, it is not clear that partial compensation will be sufficient to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Second, the Harshness Objection raises a theoretical problem in that a consistent luck egalitarian will have to regard it as unjust if any assistance is provided to the victim of pure option luck, even if such assistance could be provided at no cost. I consider three strategies the luck egalitarian could pursue to accommodate these concerns and conclude that none of these strategies can be maintained without either violating basic luck egalitarian principles or infringing upon individual liberty. (shrink)
The Molinist doctrine that God has middle knowledge requires that God knows the truth-values of counterfactuals of freedom, propositions about what free agents would do in hypothetical circumstances. A well-known objection to middle knowledge, the grounding objection, contends that counterfactuals of freedom have no truth-value because there is no fact to the matter as to what an agent with libertarian freedom would do in counterfactual circumstances. Molinists, however, have offered responses to the grounding objection that they believe (...) are adequate for maintaining the coherence of middle knowledge. I argue that these responses to the grounding objection are not adequate, and that what I call the ‘generic grounding objection’ still poses a serious challenge to middle knowledge. (shrink)
Cognitivism is the view that the primary function of moral judgements is to express beliefs that purport to say how things are; expressivism is the contrasting view that their primary function is to express some desire-like state of mind. I shall consider what I call the freshman objection to expressivism. It is pretty uncontroversial that this objection rests on simple misunderstandings. There are nevertheless interesting metaethical lessons to learn from the fact that the freshman objection is prevalent (...) among undergraduates and non-philosophers. It leaves for expressivists two awkward explanatory tasks. Number one is that of explaining why natural selection – which, by expressivism's own lights, favoured moral thought and talk because of their socially useful regulative and coordinating functions – did not favour a stance that would make moral thought and talk more effective in fulfilling these functions. Number two is that of explaining how moral thought and talk survive in cultural evolution, despite the prevalence of the freshman objection and related worries. I conclude that expressivism as a theory of actual moral discourse rather than a revisionist theory is either false or committed to an implausible error theory, according to which ordinary speakers are systematically mistaken about what they are up to when they make moral judgements. (shrink)
Some attitudes typically take whole persons as their objects. Shame, contempt, disgust and admiration have this feature, as do many tokens of love and hate. Objectors complain that these ‘globalist attitudes’ can never fit their targets and thus can never be all-things-considered appropriate. Those who dismiss all globalist attitudes in this way are misguided. The fittingness objection depends on an inaccurate view of the person-assessments at the heart of the globalist attitudes. Once we understand the nature of globalist attitudes (...) and we recognize that we may legitimately treat some traits as more important than others in our overall evaluation of persons, we ought to conclude that our globalist attitudes can, in some cases, fit their targets and should not be summarily dismissed as unfitting. Our relationships contour the fittingness-conditions of globalist attitudes. This relational element poses a problem for fitting-attitude theories of value. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that Steglich-Petersen’s response to Owens’ Exclusivity Objection does not work. Our first point is that the examples Steglich-Petersen uses to demonstrate his argument do not work because they employ an undefended conception of the truth aim not shared by his target (and officially eschewed by Steglich-Petersen himself). Secondly we will make the point that deliberating over whether to form a belief about p is not part of the belief forming process. When an agent enters (...) into this process of deliberation, he has not, contra Steglich-Petersen, already adopted the truth aim with regard to p. In closing, we further suggest that proponents of the truth aim hypothesis need to focus on aim-guidance, not mere aim attribution, for their approach to have explanatory utility so underlining the significance of Owens’ argument. (shrink)
It is often thought that Blackburn and Boghossian have provided an effective reply to the finiteness objection to dispositional theories of meaning, presented by Kripke's Wittgenstein. In this paper I distinguish two possible readings of the sceptical demand for meaning-constitutive facts. The demand can be formulated in one of two ways: an A-question or a B-question. Any theory of meaning will give one of these explanatory priority over the other. I will then argue that the standard reply only works (...) if B-questions are seen as prior, while the dominant dispositionalist theories of meaning see A-questions as prior. (shrink)
Preference utilitarianism is widely considered a significant advance on classical utilitarianism when it comes to explaining why it is wrong to kill people. This paper focuses attention on the nature of the preference utilitarian 'direct' objection to killing a person and on the related claim that a person's preferences are non-replaceable. I argue that the preference utilitarian case against killing people is overstated and overrated. My concluding remarks indicate the relevance of this discussion to deeper issues in normative moral (...) theory. (shrink)
Citing grounds of conscience, pharmacists are increasingly refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, or the "morning-after pill." Whether correctly or not, these pharmacists believe that emergency contraception either constitutes the destruction of post-conception human life, or poses a significant risk of such destruction. We argue that the liberty of conscientious refusal grounds a strong moral claim, one that cannot be defeated solely by consideration of the interests of those seeking medication. We examine, and find lacking, five arguments for (...) requiring pharmacists to fill prescriptions. However, we argue that in their professional context, pharmacists benefit from liberty restrictions on those seeking medication. What would otherwise amount to very strong claims can be defeated if they rest on some prior restriction of the liberty of others. We conclude that the issue of what policy should require pharmacists to do must be settled by way of a theory of second best. Asking "What is second best?" rather than "What is best?" offers a way to navigate the liberty restrictions that may be fixed obstacles to optimality. (shrink)
This paper’s first section invokes a relevant meta-ethical principle about what a moral theory needs in order to be plausible and superior to its rivals. In subsequent sections, I try to pinpoint exactly what the demandingness objection has been taken to be. I try to explain how the demandingness objection developed in reaction to impartial act-consequentialism’s requirement of beneficence toward strangers. In zeroing in on the demandingness objection, I distinguish it from other, more or less closely related, (...) objections. In particular, I discuss arguments put forward by Bernard Williams concerning integrity, Samuel Scheffler on prerogatives, and Liam Murphy on fairness. The final part of the paper acknowledges some ways in which vagueness bedevils my own rule-consequentialism’s rules about doing good and preventing disasters. (shrink)
In the worlds of philosophy, linguistics, and communications theory, a view has developed which understands conscious experience as experience which is 'reflected' back upon itself through language. This indicates that the consciousness we experience is possible only because we have culturally invented language and subsequently evolved to accommodate it. This accords with the conclusions of Daniel Dennett (1991), but the 'hermeneutic objection' would go further and deny that the objective sciences themselves have escaped the hermeneutic circle. -/- The consciousness (...) we humans experience is developed only within the context of crossing the 'symbolic threshold' (Percy 1975; Deacon 1997) and one of the earliest and most important symbols we acquire is that of the self, or 'the subject of experience'. It is only when we achieve self-awareness that the world, as such, comes to exist for us as an object (which contains categories and sub-categories of objects). Any consciousness imputed to prelinguistic stages of development is based on projection and guesswork, since we can know nothing directly of it. It can be said that any experience which does not separate an inner subject from an outer world is probably a continuum of sensation in which environmental stimulus and instinctive response are experienced as a unity; it may be 'lived experience' but it is experience 'lived' non-consciously. -/- Speech requires assertion and by learning to speak we find ourselves asserting, in essence, our selves into the world. The narrative form of language allows us to develop life stories, self-knowledge, and, most important, narrative memory coincident with narrative time. All this is made possible with the intersubjective 'net' of language which allows us to know ourselves by first identifying with the viewpoint of others; and, later, such allows us to identify with other minds as we anticipate their reception our communication. These three, assertion, narrative, and intersubjectivity are the essence of what language is and are the keystones that make culture possible outside of nature. (shrink)
I begin this chapter by outlining Mill's thinking about why justice is a problem for utilitarians. Next, I turn to Mill's own account of justice and explain its connection with rights, perfect duties, and harms. I then examine David Lyons' answer to the question of how Mill's account is meant to answer the Weak Objection from Justice. Lyons maintains that Mill's account of justice has both a conceptual side and a substantive side. The former provides an analysis of such (...) concepts as 'justice' and 'rights'. The latter, based on the Principle of Utility, provides an explanation of when these concepts apply. As a result, utilitarians can allow for circumstances in which actions are wrong because they are unjust, while also claiming that the standards of right and wrong (as well as justice and injustice) are determined by the Principle of Utility. However, the main thesis of this paper is that Lyons' interpretation is flawed. The distinction between the conceptual and the substantive levels of Mill's thinking does not hold up to scrutiny, and even if it did, it would not support Lyon's reading of Mill. It would instead support a debunking interpretation of justice, an interpretation recently explored by Roger Crisp. Such a debunking interpretation suggests a very different response to the Weak Objection from Justice, one that many, but not all, utilitarians will find unwelcome. (shrink)