A moral ground for the means principle


Authors
Alec Walen
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
A robust, if not absolute, prohibition on treating people simply as a means sits at the core of common sense deontological morality. But the principle prohibiting such treatment, the "means principle" (MP), has been notoriously hard to defend. This paper has two parts. In Part I, I survey why the interpretation of the MP in terms of intentions does not work, and why the interpretation in terms of causes, as defended up to now, is so mysterious as to be question begging. I also explore Judith Jarvis Thomson's early and admittedly failed attempt to explain the MP in terms of rights. In Part II, I articulate and defend a new account of a causal interpretation of the MP. The principle I defend there, the Restricting Claims Principle, registers the moral significance of the fact that certain claims have a kind of moral externality: if they had to be respected as rights that would restrict what agents could do on behalf of other patients. Claims that impose that sort of externality, restricting claims, register as less weighty than claims that do not. The claims of those who would be used simply as a means (a causal notion) are not restricting, and that explains why they are stronger than competing restricting claims.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,836
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-04-05

Total views
56 ( #147,495 of 2,266,097 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #286,795 of 2,266,097 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature