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.
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.
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)
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)
This chapter analyzes what is often regarded as the locus classicus of modern theological disputes about natural theology: the 1934 debate between Karl Barth and Emil Brunner published as Natural Theology: Comprising ‘Nature and Grace’ by Professor Dr Emil Brunner and the reply ‘No!’ by Dr Karl Barth. One of the most striking things about the debate is that, although Barth is rightly regarded as opposing natural theology, Brunner repeatedly draws attention to his agreement with Barth on these dilemmas and (...) of his desire to uphold the latter disjunct in each case. For Barth and Brunner, the question of the propriety of natural theology could not be reduced to a series of straightforward, independently stateable, independently resolvable dilemmas. Despite the way in which the still-all-too-common caricatures of the debate would portray the matter, both Barth and Brunner thought that there was more at stake than an understanding of the opposing terms, apart from wider dogmatic and methodological considerations, might be supposed to imply. (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)
This paper develops and defends the claim that the promotion of human well-being is a philosophical basis or rationale for health services. It first sketches a case for this thesis, then defends it against various objections arising from the contrary position, here dubbed The Sceptical View. Later sections of the paper elaborate on the meaning of ‘well-being’, the nature of well-being, and the scope of appropriate health service concern with well-being. In particular, distinctions are made between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ well-being, (...) and between well-being and its various measures. These discussions generate further defences of the philosophical centrality of human well-being to health services. (shrink)
New Zealand's health (and disability) ethics committees are children of public inquiries: the ‘Cartwright’ ministerial inquiry of 1988, the ‘Gisborne’ cervical screening ministerial inquiry of 2001, and the Health Select Committee clinical trials inquiry of 2011. The Cartwright inquiry strengthened external scrutiny of research. The Gisborne Inquiry strengthened ethics committee accountability and expertise, and greatly streamlined review process. The Health Select Committee inquiry is further sharpening accountability and process. Under-discussed systemic issues also persist, including: how to keep the ethical primacy (...) of the researcher-participant relationship and of researcher responsibility for good study conduct; whether the point of ethics committees is to facilitate good research as well as to protect participants; and whether ethics committees are just standard public bodies - to be given powers and limitations just like any other administrative tribunal or licensing board. (shrink)