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- Obstetric Autonomy and Informed Consent.Jessica Flanigan - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-20.I argue that public officials and health workers ought to respect and protect women’s rights to make risky choices during childbirth. Women’s rights to make treatment decisions ought to be respected even if their decisions expose their unborn children to unnecessary risks, and even if it is wrong to put unborn children at risk. I first defend a presumption of medical autonomy in the context of childbirth. I then draw on women’s birth stories to show that women’s medical autonomy is (...)
- Justice at the Margins: The Social Contract and the Challenge of Marginal Cases.Nathan Bauer & David Svolba - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):51-67.Attempts to justify the special moral status of human beings over other animals face a well-known objection: the challenge of marginal cases. If we attempt to ground this special status in the unique rationality of humans, then it becomes difficult to see why nonrational humans should be treated any differently than other, nonhuman animals. We respond to this challenge by turning to the social contract tradition. In particular, we identify an important role for the concept of recognition in attempts to (...)
- Fanciful Examples.Ian Stoner & Jason Swartwood - 2017 - Metaphilosophy 48 (3):325-344.This article defends the use of fanciful examples within the method of wide reflective equilibrium. First, it characterizes the general persuasive role of described cases within that method. Second, it suggests three criteria any example must meet in order to succeed in this persuasive role; fancifulness has little or nothing to do with whether an example is able to meet these criteria. Third, it discusses several general objections to fanciful examples and concludes that they are objections to the abuse of (...)
- Modal Scepticism, Yablo-Style Conceivability, and Analogical Reasoning.Peter Hartl - 2016 - Synthese 193 (1):269-291.This paper offers a detailed criticism of different versions of modal scepticism proposed by Van Inwagen and Hawke, and, against these views, attempts to vindicate our reliance on thought experiments in philosophy. More than one different meaning of “ modal scepticism” will be distinguished. Focusing mainly on Hawke’s more detailed view I argue that none of these versions of modal scepticism is compelling, since sceptical conclusions depend on an untenable and, perhaps, incoherent modal epistemology. With a detailed account of modal (...)
- Fetal Risks, Relative Risks, and Relatives' Risks.Howard Minkoff & Mary Faith Marshall - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (2):3-11.Several factors related to fetal risk render it more or less acceptable in justifying constraints on the behavior of pregnant women. Risk is an unavoidable part of pregnancy and childbirth, one that women must balance against other vital personal and family interests. Two particular issues relate to the fairness of claims that pregnant women are never entitled to put their fetuses at risk: relative risks and relatives' risks. The former have been used—often spuriously—to advance arguments against activities, such as home (...)
- Abortion, Property, and Liberty.William Simkulet - 2016 - Journal of Ethics 20 (4):373-383.In “Abortion and Ownership” John Martin Fischer argues that in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s violinist case you have a moral obligation not to unplug yourself from the violinist. Fischer comes to this conclusion by comparing the case with Joel Feinberg’s cabin case, in which he contends a stranger is justified in using your cabin to stay alive. I argue that the relevant difference between these cases is that while the stranger’s right to life trumps your right to property in the cabin (...)
- A Popperian Approach to Rational Argumentation in Applied Ethics.Fabio Bacchini - 2015 - Journal of Argumentation in Context 4 (3):243-285.
- Improve Your Thought Experiments Overnight with Speculative Fiction!Ross P. Cameron - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):29-45.
- Sacrifices of Self.Vanessa Carbonell - 2015 - Journal of Ethics 19 (1):53-72.We emerge from certain activities with an altered sense of self. Whether returning from a warzone or from an experience as common as caring for an aging parent, one might remark, “I’m not the same person I was.” I argue that such transformations are relevant to debates about what morality requires of us. To undergo an alteration in one’s self is to make a special kind of sacrifice, a sacrifice of self. Since projects can be more or less morally obligatory (...)
- Cui Bono? Good for Whom? Some Apologies, Confessions, Musings, Unsubstantiated Views, Not Empirically Founded Statements, Lists, a Few Commandments, Reading Suggestions, and Rather Practical Tips for Aspiring and Experienced Bioethicists.I. de Beaufort - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (1):56-59.
- The Epistemic Value of Speculative Fiction.Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):58-77.Speculative fiction, such as science fiction and fantasy, has a unique epistemic value. We examine similarities and differences between speculative fiction and philosophical thought experiments in terms of how they are cognitively processed. They are similar in their reliance on mental prospection, but dissimilar in that fiction is better able to draw in readers (transportation) and elicit emotional responses. By its use of longer, emotionally poignant narratives and seemingly irrelevant details, speculative fiction allows for a better appraisal of the consequences (...)
- Relying on Intuitions: Where Cappelen and Deutsch Go Wrong.Michael Devitt - 2015 - Inquiry 58 (7-8):669-699.In Philosophy without Intuitions, Herman Cappelen challenges the ‘almost universally accepted’ thesis of ‘Centrality’: ‘philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence for philosophical theories’. Cappelen takes there to be two arguments for Centrality and rejects both. According to the first, Centrality is supported by the way philosophers characterize key premises in their arguments as ‘intuitive’. Central to Cappelen’s rejection of this is his lengthy argument that philosophers’ ‘intuition’-talk is very hard to interpret, indeed often ‘meaningless’. I argue, in contrast, that this (...)
- Self-Ownership and Disgust: Why Compulsory Body Part Redistribution Gets Under Our Skin.Christopher Freiman & Adam Lerner - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3167-3190.The self-ownership thesis asserts, roughly, that agents own their minds and bodies in the same way that they can own extra-personal property. One common strategy for defending the self-ownership thesis is to show that it accords with our intuitions about the wrongness of various acts involving the expropriation of body parts. We challenge this line of defense. We argue that disgust explains our resistance to these sorts of cases and present results from an original psychological experiment in support of this (...)
- Morality, Inescapable Rational Authority, and a God's Wishes.Gerald K. Harrison - 2015 - Journal of Religious Ethics 43 (3):454-474.It is a supposed conceptual truth about moral norms that we have reason to comply with them even if we desire not to. This combination of rational authority and inescapability is thought to be incompatible with instrumentalism about practical reason. This essay argues that there are ways in which norms with inescapable rational authority can exist alongside instrumentalism about practical reason. One way involves positing an afterlife and a powerful supernatural agency—so, a kind of god—who has total control over our (...)
- Birth, Meaningful Viability and Abortion.David Jensen - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (6):460-463.
- A Polyvocal Body.Rebecca J. E. Levi - 2015 - Journal of Religious Ethics 43 (2):244-267.This essay aims to elucidate how multiple voices and traditions should interact with one another in the practice of ethics. First, it explores some of the major ways in which questions of bodily autonomy function in secular feminist and Jewish bioethical discourses. It then uses case studies to illuminate ways each discourse's concepts of bodily autonomy can be deeply problematic, and argues that the strengths in each discourse can serve as important correctives for the weaknesses in the other. It suggests (...)
- Are Enabling and Allowing Harm Morally Equivalent?Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen - 2015 - Utilitas 27 (3):365-383.It is sometimes asserted that enabling harm is morally equivalent to allowing harm. In this article, I criticize this view. Positively, I show that cases involving self-defence and cases involving people acting on the basis of a reasonable belief to the effect that certain obstacles to harm will remain in place, or will be put in place, show that enabling harm is harder to justify than allowing it. Negatively, I argue that certain cases offered in defence of the moral equivalence (...)
- Mutual Scorn Within the Abortion Debate: Some Parallels With Race Relations.Bertha Manninen - 2015 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 12 (2):295-311.By emphasizing the parallels between both racial vilification and the vilification that takes place when we discuss abortion in our society, I hope to provide a new perspective on the way the United States converses about this divisive issue. This perspective, in turn, can help us see how we can move forward from the stagnate polemics that have permeated the abortion debate in the United States for the past 40 years.
- Philosophical Thought Experiments as Heuristics for Theory Discovery.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen & Sara Praëm - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2827-2842.The growing literature on philosophical thought experiments has so far focused almost exclusively on the role of thought experiments in confirming or refuting philosophical hypotheses or theories. In this paper we draw attention to an additional and largely ignored role that thought experiments frequently play in our philosophical practice: some thought experiments do not merely serve as means for testing various philosophical hypotheses or theories, but also serve as facilitators for conceiving and articulating new ones. As we will put it, (...)
- Membership Has Its Privileges? Life, Personhood, and Potential in Discussions About Reproductive Choice.Jonathan F. Will - 2015 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 43 (2):358-362.As Professor Dov Fox points out in his essay, reference to “potential life” in American abortion jurisprudence is both indeterminate and underspecified. This commentary highlights that use of the phrase “potential life” by courts also obscures the fact that a position has been taken that biological life is not the equivalent of legal personhood. Worse, the position has been imposed on those who do not share it without offering reasons to justify its imposition in terms that those who oppose it (...)
- Adventures in Moral Consistency: How to Develop an Abortion Ethic Through an Animal Rights Framework.Cheryl E. Abbate - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):145-164.In recent discussions, it has been argued that a theory of animal rights is at odds with a liberal abortion policy. In response, Francione (1995) argues that the principles used in the animal rights discourse do not have implications for the abortion debate. I challenge Francione’s conclusion by illustrating that his own framework of animal rights, supplemented by a relational account of moral obligation, can address the moral issue of abortion. I first demonstrate that Francione’s animal rights position, which grounds (...)
- The Right to Exclude.Michael Blake - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (5):521-537.
- Duties to Kin Through a Tragi-Comic Lens.Grant Gillett & Robin Hankey - 2014 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 11 (2):173-180.Euripides’ Alcestis (1959) raises the issue of ethical duties within families and exposes the romantic postures and rhetoric that can dominate such discussions. Should anybody be asked to sacrifice themselves or even undergo significant health risks for members of their own family? (An issue that is also relevant in considering our duties to future generations in terms of the earth we leave to them.) The issue that is dramatized to a heroic level in Alcestis arises in live organ and tissue (...)
- Brain Simulation and Personhood: A Concern with the Human Brain Project.Daniel Lim - 2014 - Ethics and Information Technology 16 (2):77-89.The Human Brain Project (HBP) is a massive interdisciplinary project involving hundreds of researchers across more than eighty institutions that seeks to leverage cutting edge information and communication technologies to create a multi-level brain simulation platform (BSP). My worry is that some brain models running on the BSP will be persons. If this is right then not only will the in silico experiments the HBP envisions being carried on the BSP be unethical the mere termination of certain brain models running (...)
- Neuroenhancement in Reflective Equilibrium: A Qualified Kantian Defense of Enhancing in Scholarship and Science.C. D. Meyers - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (3):287-298.Cognitive neuroenhancement involves the use of medical interventions to improve normal cognitive functioning such as memory, focus, concentration, or willpower. In this paper I give a Kantian argument defending the use of CNE in science, scholarly research, and creative fields. Kant’s universal law formulation of the categorical imperative shows why enhancement is morally wrong in the familiar contexts of sports or competitive games. This argument, however, does not apply to the use of CNE in higher education, scholarly or scientific research, (...)
- Imagination and Insight: A New Acount of the Content of Thought Experiments.Letitia Meynell - 2014 - Synthese 191 (17):4149-4168.This paper motivates, explains, and defends a new account of the content of thought experiments. I begin by briefly surveying and critiquing three influential accounts of thought experiments: James Robert Brown’s Platonist account, John Norton’s deflationist account that treats them as picturesque arguments, and a cluster of views that I group together as mental model accounts. I use this analysis to motivate a set of six desiderata for a new approach. I propose that we treat thought experiments primarily as aesthetic (...)
- Does the Method of Cases Rest on a Mistake?Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):183-197.In this paper, I argue that the method of cases (namely, the method of using intuitive judgments elicited by intuition pumps as evidence for and/or against philosophical theories) is not a reliable method of generating evidence for and/or against philosophical theories. In other words, the method of cases is unlikely to generate accurate judgments more often than not. This is so because, if perception and intuition are analogous in epistemically relevant respects, then using intuition pumps to elicit intuitive judgments is (...)
- Why and How to Prefer a Causal Account of Parenthood.Lindsey Porter - 2014 - Journal of Social Philosophy 45 (2):182-202.
- Analogical Reasoning in Ethics.Georg Spielthenner - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):861-874.In this article I am concerned with analogical reasoning in ethics. There is no doubt that the use of analogy can be a powerful tool in our ethical reasoning. The importance of this mode of reasoning is therefore commonly accepted, but there is considerable debate concerning how its structure should be understood and how it should be assessed, both logically and epistemically. In this paper, I first explain the basic structure of arguments from analogy in ethics. I then discuss the (...)
- Intuitions as Evidence, Philosophical Expertise and the Developmental Challenge.Steve Clarke - 2013 - Philosophical Papers 42 (2):175-207.Appeals to intuitions as evidence in philosophy are challenged by experimental philosophers and other critics. A common response to experimental philosophical criticisms is to hold that only professional philosophers? intuitions count as evidence in philosophy. This ?expert intuitions defence? is inadequate for two reasons. First, recent studies indicate significant variability in professional philosophers? intuitions. Second, the academic literature on professional intuitions gives us reasons to doubt that professional philosophers develop truth-apt intuitions. The onus falls on those who mount the expert (...)
- Merciful Justice.Jeanine Diller - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (3):719-735.I offer a solution to an old puzzle about how God can be both just and merciful at the same time—a feat which seems required of God, but at the same time seems impossible since showing mercy involves being more lenient than justice demands. Inspired by two of Jesus’ parables and work by Feinberg, Johnson and Smart, I suggest that following a “principle of merciful justice”—that persons ought to receive what they deserve or better—delivers mercy and justice simultaneously, certainly in (...)
- Abortion and Ownership.John Martin Fischer - 2013 - Journal of Ethics 17 (4):275-304.I explore two thought-experiments in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s important article, “A Defense of Abortion”: the violinist example and the people-seeds example. I argue (contra Thomson) that you have a moral duty not to unplug yourself from the violinist and also a moral duty not to destroy a people-seed that has landed in your sofa. Nevertheless, I also argue that there are crucial differences between the thought-experiments and the contexts of pregnancy due to rape or to contraceptive failure. In virtue of (...)
- Moral Case Classification and the Nonlocality of Reasons.Marcello Guarini - 2013 - Topoi 32 (2):267-289.This paper presents the results of training an artificial neural network (ANN) to classify moral situations. The ANN produces a similarity space in the process of solving its classification problem. The state space is subjected to analysis that suggests that holistic approaches to interpreting its functioning are problematic. The idea of a contributory or pro tanto standard, as discussed in debates between moral particularists and generalists, is used to understand the structure of the similarity space generated by the ANN. A (...)
- Is the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act Guilty of Disability Discrimination?S. Hall - 2013 - South African Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):36-46.South Africa’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996 implicitly expresses the attitude that the prenatal detection of foetal abnormality justifies selective abortion, even at a stage when abortion is in general morally prohibited. It will be argued that this attitude is logically incompatible with a simultaneous commitment to non-discrimination against persons with disabilities, in that the Act makes allowance for the subjection of beings that are considered to be morally significant, but that exhibit disabling characteristics, to worse treatment (...)
- Can the Paradox of Forgiveness Be Dissolved?Oliver Hallich - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):999-1017.The “paradox of forgiveness” can be described as follows: Forgiving, unlike forgetting, is tied to reasons. It is a response to considerations that lead us to think that we ought to forgive. On the other hand, acts of forgiveness, unlike excuses, are responses to instances of culpable wrongdoing. If, however, the wrongdoing is culpable, there is (or seems to be) no reason to forgive it. So two mutually exclusive theses about forgiveness both seem to be equally warranted: Forgiveness is related (...)
- How to Understand a Woman's Obligations to the Fetus in Unwanted Pregnancies.Kristen Hine - 2013 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10 (2):239-247.Some have challenged Thomson’s case of the famous unconscious violinist (UV) by arguing that in cases of consensual sex a woman is partially morally responsible for the existence of a needy fetus; since she is partially responsible she ought to assist the fetus, and so abortion is morally wrong. Call this the Responsibility Objection (RO) to UV. In this paper, I briefly criticize one of the most widely discussed objections to RO and then suggest a new way to challenge RO. (...)
- The Value of Choice and the Choice to Value: Expanding the Discussion About Fetal Life Within Prochoice Advocacy.Bertha Alvarez Manninen - 2013 - Hypatia 28 (3):663-683.
- For the Benefit of Another: Children, Moral Decency, and Non-Therapeutic Medical Procedures.Robert Noggle - 2013 - HEC Forum 25 (4):289-310.Parents are usually appreciated as possessing legitimate moral authority to compel children to make at least modest sacrifices in the service of widely shared values of moral decency. This essay argues that such authority justifies allowing parents to authorize a child to serve as an organ or tissue donor in certain circumstances, such as to authorize bone marrow donations to save a sibling with whom the potential donor shares a deep emotional bond. The approach explored here suggests, however, that at (...)
- Bioethics: Looking Forward and Looking Back.Rosamond Rhodes - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics 13 (1):13-16.
- Virtue and Vice Attributions in the Business Context: An Experimental Investigation. [REVIEW]Brian Robinson, Paul Stey & Mark Alfano - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 113 (4):649-661.Recent findings in experimental philosophy have revealed that people attribute intentionality, belief, desire, knowledge, and blame asymmetrically to side- effects depending on whether the agent who produces the side-effect violates or adheres to a norm. Although the original (and still common) test for this effect involved a chairman helping or harming the environment, hardly any of these findings have been applied to business ethics. We review what little exploration of the implications for business ethics has been done. Then, we present (...)
- How has Philosophical Applied Ethics Progressed in the Past Fifty Years?Bonnie Steinbock - 2013 - Metaphilosophy 44 (1-2):58-62.Applied ethics is relatively new on the philosophical scene, having grown out of the various civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the student demand that college courses be relevant. Even today, there are those who think that there are no philosophically interesting practical ethical questions, and that applied ethics is not a branch of philosophy at all. This article rejects that view, both because some of the most interesting and respectable philosophers in the world have (...)
- Freedom of Conscience and Health Care in the United States of America: The Conflict Between Public Health and Religious Liberty in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.Peter West-Oram - 2013 - Health Care Analysis 21 (3):237-247.The recent confirmation of the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by the US Supreme Court has brought to the fore long-standing debates over individual liberty and religious freedom. Advocates of personal liberty are often critical, particularly in the USA, of public health measures which they deem to be overly restrictive of personal choice. In addition to the alleged restrictions of individual freedom of choice when it comes to the question of whether or not (...)
- Moral Compromise.David Archard - 2012 - Philosophy 87 (03):403-420.A moral compromise is a compromise on moral matters; it is agreement in the face of moral disagreement but where there is agreement on the importance of consensus -namely that it secures a morally desirable outcome. It is distinguishable from other forms of agreement, and an important distinction between moral compromise with public agreement and moral compromise with public disagreement is also made. Circumstances in which the former might be permissible are outlined, and the sense in which it is allowed (...)
- Abortion: At the Still Point of the Turning Conscientious Objection Debate. [REVIEW]Elliott Louis Bedford - 2012 - HEC Forum 24 (2):63-82.Abortion is the central issue in the conscientious objection 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 (...)
- Introducing Transformative Technologies Into Democratic Societies.Steve Clarke & Rebecca Roache - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (1):27-45.Transformative technologies can radically alter human lives making us stronger, faster, more resistant to disease and so on. These include enhancement technologies as well as cloning and stem cell research. Such technologies are often approved of by many liberals who see them as offering us opportunities to lead better lives, but are often disapproved of by conservatives who worry about the many consequences of allowing these to be used. In this paper, we consider how a democratic government with mainly liberal (...)
- Coherentism and the Epistemic Justification of Moral Beliefs: A Case Study in How to Do Practical Ethics Without Appeal to a Moral Theory.Mylan Engel Jr - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):50-74.This paper defends a coherentist approach to moral epistemology. In “The Immorality of Eating Meat”, I offer a coherentist consistency argument to show that our own beliefs rationally commit us to the immorality of eating meat. Elsewhere, I use our own beliefs as premises to argue that we have positive duties to assist the poor and to argue that biomedical animal experimentation is wrong. The present paper explores whether this consistency-based coherentist approach of grounding particular moral judgments on beliefs we (...)
- On the Normative Significance of Experimental Moral Psychology.Victor Kumar & Richmond Campbell - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (3):311-330.Experimental research in moral psychology can be used to generate debunking arguments in ethics. Specifically, research can indicate that we draw a moral distinction on the basis of a morally irrelevant difference. We develop this naturalistic approach by examining a recent debate between Joshua Greene and Selim Berker. We argue that Greene's research, if accurate, undermines attempts to reconcile opposing judgments about trolley cases, but that his attempt to debunk deontology fails. We then draw some general lessons about the possibility (...)
- Denying the Suberogatory.Hallie Rose Liberto - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (2):395-402.Julia Driver has argued that there is a special set of actions, lodged between neutral actions and wrongful actions called suberogatory actions. These actions are not impermissible, according to Driver, but still strike us as troubling or bad, and are therefore worse than morally neutral (1992). Since this paper was written 20 years ago, many philosophers have utilized or alluded to this moral territory. The existence of some action-types that are not wrong but still carry some dis-value has become a (...)
- Does 'Ought' Still Imply 'Can'?Clayton Littlejohn - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):821-828.According to ‘ought’ implies ‘can’ (OIC), your obligation can never be to do what you cannot do. In a recent attack on OIC, Graham has argued that intuitions about justified intervention can help us determine whether the agent whose actions we use force to prevent would have acted permissibly or not. These intuitions, he suggests, cause trouble for the idea that you can be obligated to refrain from doing what you can refrain from doing. I offer a defense of OIC (...)
- On Helping One's Neighbor.Bharat Ranganathan - 2012 - Journal of Religious Ethics 40 (4):653-677.Few people doubt that severe poverty is a pressing moral issue. But what sorts of obligations, if any, do affluent people have toward the severely poor? If one accepts the idea that one has some obligations to the severely poor there still remains disagreement about the magnitude of this obligation and when it obtains. I consider Peter Singer's influential "shallow pond" argument, which holds that affluent people have greater obligations toward the severely poor than ordinary moral judgments suggest. Critics hold (...)
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