Here, for the first time, the world's two leading authorities—Tom Regan, who argues for animal rights, and Carl Cohen, who argues against them—make their respective case before the public at large. The very terms of the debate will never be the same. This seminal moment in the history of the controversy over animal rights will influence the direction of this debate throughout the rest of the century.
A right, unlike an interest, is a valid claim, or potential claim, made by a moral agent, under principles that govern both the claimant and the target of the claim. Animals cannot be the bearers of rights because the concept of rights is essentially human; it is rooted in and has force within a human moral world.
Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmental movement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
Racial preferences are among the most contentious issues in our society, touching on fundamental questions of fairness and the proper role of racial categories in government action. Now two contemporary philosophers, in a lively debate, lay out the arguments on each side. Carl Cohen, a key figure in the University of Michigan Supreme Court cases, argues that racial preferences are morally wrong--forbidden by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and explicitly banned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also (...) contends that such preferences harm society in general, damage the universities that use them, and undermine the minorities they were intended to serve. James P. Sterba counters that, far from being banned by the Constitution and the civil rights acts, affirmative action is actually mandated by law in the pursuit of a society that is racially and sexually just. The same Congress that adopted the 14th Amendment, he notes, passed race-specific laws that extended aid to blacks. Indeed, there are various kinds of affirmative action--compensation for past discrimination, remedial measures aimed at current discrimination, the guarantee of diversity--and Sterba reviews the Supreme Court cases that build a constitutional foundation for each. Affirmative action, he argues, favors qualified minority candidates, not unqualified ones. Both authors offer concluding comment on the University of Michigan cases decided in 2003. Half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, issues pertaining to racial discrimination continue to grip American society. Ideal for courses in political, social, ethical, and legal philosophy, this penetrating debate explores the philosophical and legal arguments on all sides of affirmative action, but also reveals the passions that drive the issue to the forefront of public life. (shrink)