What should authorities establish as the job of ethics committees and review boards? Two answers are: review of proposals for consistency with the duly established and applicable code and review of proposals for ethical acceptability. The present paper argues that these two jobs come apart in principle and in practice. On grounds of practicality, publicity and separation of powers, it argues that the relevant authorities do better to establish code-consistency review and not ethics-consistency review. It also rebuts bad code and (...) independence arguments for the opposite view. It then argues that authorities at present variously specify both code-consistency and ethics-consistency jobs, but most are also unclear on this issue. The paper then argues that they should reform the job of review boards and ethics committees, by clearly establishing code-consistency review and disestablishing ethics-consistency review, and through related reform of the basic orientation, focus, name, and expertise profile of these bodies and their actions. (shrink)
Animal welfare science and ecology are both generally concerned with the lives of animals, however they differ in their objectives and scope; the former studies the welfare of animals considered ‘domestic’ and under the domain of humans, while the latter studies wild animals with respect to ecological processes. Each of these approaches addresses certain aspects of the lives of animals living in the world though neither, we argue, tells us important information about the welfare of wild animals. This paper argues (...) for the development of a new scientific discipline ‘welfare biology’ to address these issues and more, given the deficiencies of pre-existing life science disciplines to research the subject. Welfare biology is the study of the welfare of all living beings who have a welfare, with a value orientation toward promoting that welfare, regardless of the beings’ situation or relationship to humans and our activities. (shrink)
We take welfarism in moral theory to be the claim that the well-being of individuals matters and is the only consideration that fundamentally matters, from a moral point of view. We argue that criticisms of welfarism due to G.E. Moore, Donald Regan, Charles Taylor and Amartya Sen all fail. The final section of our paper is a critical survey of the problems which remain for welfarists in moral theory.
What job should authorities give to review boards? We are grateful to Soren Holm, Rosamond Rhodes, Julian Savulescu and G Owen Schaefer for their thoughtful commentaries on our answer.1–4 Here we add to the discussion. Let us summarise the claims for which we argued.5 Relevant authorities can task boards with review for consistency with duly established code, thereby making code-consistent activities apt for approval and code-inconsistent activities apt for rejection. They can instead task boards with review for ethical acceptability, making (...) ethically acceptable activities apt for approval and ethically unacceptable activities apt for rejection. For every proposal a board might consider, these two different jobs establish different review bases, and their approvals and rejections also sometimes conflict. Some international and national statements require ECR, others instead require CCR, and others again seem either to require both or just to run the two together. Those responsible for these statements should make them clearer and better aligned here. For reasons of practicality, publicity and separation of powers, authorities do better to task boards with CCR and not ECR. These arguments also count against establishing any code with content that in effect collapses CCR into ECR. If our arguments withstand robust scrutiny, authorities should also remove ‘ethics’ and cognate terms from the names of these boards and their review activities and emphasise code expertise not ethics expertise in the required skill sets of boards. Our article noted that ‘ethical considerations informed the genesis of these boards and express their aspirations’. Rhodes similarly notes: ‘the authors and endorsers of research ethics codes, declarations and regulations … articulating the ethical standards for conducting human subject research’ and ‘This framework embeds the ethical parameters of human subject research into the moral missions of institutions’. Schaefer too …. (shrink)
The question of realism - that is, whether God exists independently of human beings - is central to much contemporary theology and church life. It is also an important topic in the philosophy of religion. This book discusses the relationship between realism and Christian faith in a thorough and systematic way and uses the resources of both philosophy and theology to argue for a Christocentric narrative realism. Many previous defences of realism have attempted to model Christian belief on scientific theory (...) but Moore argues that this comparison is misleading and inadequate on both theological and philosophical grounds. In dialogue with speech act theory and critiques of realism by both non-realists and Wittgensteinians, a new account of the meaningfulness of Christian language is proposed. Moore uses this to develop a regulative conception of realism according to which God's independent reality is shown principally in Christ and then through Christian practices and the lives of Christians. (shrink)
This paper argues that many leading ethical theories are incomplete, in that they fail to account for both right and wrong. It also argues that some leading ethical theories are inconsistent, in that they allow that an act can be both right and wrong. The paper also considers responses on behalf of the target theories.
This paper explores the relationship between mania, or pathologically elevated mood, and philosophical theories of well-being. A patient, Mr. M., is described who oscillated between periods when he refused medication and periods when he was willing to accept it, and whose desires and life objectives were radically different in his medicated and unmedicated states. The practical dilemmas this raised are explored in terms of the three principal philosophical theories of well-being: hedonism, the desire fulfillment theory, and objectivism. None of these (...) adequately accounted for Mr. M.'s case: hedonism, because pleasure is increased in mildly manic states; desire fulfillment theories, because these suggest that an unending cycle of treatment and nontreatment would be in Mr. M.'s best interests; and objectivism, because, in a form that would be applicable to Mr. M., that theory brings with it substantial risks of paternalism. Four further philosophical approaches are explored briefly—approaches focusing on autonomy, rationality, personal identity, and illness, respectively—but these also provide no straightforward resolution of the clinical dilemmas. It is concluded that philosophical analysis, even if it does not resolve cases like Mr. M.'s, can deepen our understanding of the issues involved in clinical decision making in psychiatry, especially the importance of sensitivity to the patient's wishes and values; and conversely, that mild mania is an important "real life" case against which philosophical theories of well-being can be tested. (shrink)
A number of arguments have been put forward by D. Z. Phillips which purportedly establish that the problems that lie at the heart of the theological realism/nonrealism controversy are confused, and that realism itself is incoherent and may be refuted. These arguments are assessed and several different theories of realism are considered. The questions of the nature of religious belief and whether God is an object are addressed. Phillips' arguments are shown to fail to supply a substantial objection to any (...) interesting variety of theological realism. (shrink)
The global pandemic needs to mark a turning point for the peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand. How can we make sure that our culturally diverse nation charts an equitable and sustainable path through and beyond this new world? In a less affluent future, how can we ensure that all New Zealanders have fair access to opportunities? One challenge is to preserve the sense of common purpose so critical to protecting each other in the face of Covid-19. How can we centre (...) what we have learnt about resilience within Māori and wider Pacific communities in our reforms? How can public understanding of Covid-19 science create a platform for the future social valuing of expertise? How can we ensure that the impact of Covid-19 in New Zealand results in a more sustainable, and inclusive workforce–for instance by expanding our perceptions of the value of our workers through promoting digital inclusion? To meet these challenges, we must reimagine our existing traditions of thought, breathing new life into perennial concepts and debates. Our paper indicates some of the ways that Philosophy is central to this collective reimagining, highlighting solutions to be found across our rich philosophical traditions. (shrink)
Thomas Scanlon influentially argues that, in the provision of reasons to act or believe, goodness and value ‘pass the buck’ to other properties. This paper first extends his arguments: if Scanlon shows that goodness and value pass the buck, then relevantly analogous arguments show that, contrary to Scanlon, duty and wrongness too pass this same buck. The paper then reverses Scanlon’s buck-passing arguments: if they show that goodness and value pass the reason-providing buck, then reasons themselves also pass the buck (...) for providing goodness, value, duty, and wrongness. What to make of all this? The paper argues for scepticism about the significance of Scanlon’s buck-passing arguments for ethics. (shrink)