In this article, we propose the Fair Priority Model for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and emphasize three fundamental values we believe should be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and equal moral concern for all individuals. The Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as (...) economic destruction. It proposes proceeding in three phases: the first addresses premature death, the second long-term health issues and economic harms, and the third aims to contain viral transmission fully and restore pre-pandemic activity. -/- To those who may deem an ethical framework irrelevant because of the belief that many countries will pursue "vaccine nationalism," we argue such a framework still has broad relevance. Reasonable national partiality would permit countries to focus on vaccine distribution within their borders up until the rate of transmission is below 1, at which point there would not be sufficient vaccine-preventable harm to justify retaining a vaccine. When a government reaches the limit of national partiality, it should release vaccines for other countries. -/- We also argue against two other recent proposals. Distributing a vaccine proportional to a country's population mistakenly assumes that equality requires treating differently situated countries identically. Prioritizing countries according to the number of front-line health care workers, the proportion of the population over 65, and the number of people with comorbidities within each country may exacerbate disadvantage and end up giving the vaccine in large part to wealthy nations. (shrink)
Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question.
This book advances a novel theory of international justice that combines the orthodox liberal notion that the lives of individuals are what ultimately matter morally with the putatively antiliberal idea of an irreducibly collective right of self-governance. The individual and her rights are placed at center stage insofar as political states are judged legitimate if they adequately protect the human rights of their constituents and respect the rights of all others. Yet, the book argues that legitimate states have a moral (...) right to self-determination and that this right is inherently collective, irreducible to the individual rights of the persons who constitute them. Exploring the implications of these ideas, the book addresses issues pertaining to democracy, secession, international criminal law, armed intervention, political assassination, global distributive justice, and immigration. A number of the positions taken in the book run against the grain of current academic opinion: there is no human right to democracy; separatist groups can be morally entitled to secede from legitimate states; the fact that it is a matter of brute luck whether one is born in a wealthy state or a poorer one does not mean that economic inequalities across states must be minimized or even kept within certain limits; most existing states have no right against armed intervention; and it is morally permissible for a legitimate state to exclude all would-be immigrants. (shrink)
All parties involved in researching, developing, manufacturing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines need guidance on their ethical obligations. We focus on pharmaceutical companies' obligations because their capacities to research, develop, manufacture, and distribute vaccines make them uniquely placed for stemming the pandemic. We argue that an ethical approach to COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution should satisfy four uncontroversial principles: optimising vaccine production, including development, testing, and manufacturing; fair distribution; sustainability; and accountability. All parties' obligations should be coordinated and mutually consistent. For (...) instance, companies should not be obligated to provide host countries with additional booster shots at the expense of fulfilling bilateral contracts with countries in which there are surges. Finally, any satisfactory approach should include mechanisms for assurance that all parties are honouring their obligations. This assurance enables countries, pharmaceutical companies, global organisations, and others to verify compliance with the chosen approach and protect ethically compliant stakeholders from being unfairly exploited by unethical behaviour of others. (shrink)
First published in 2005, A Theory of Secession: The Case for Political Self-Determination offers an unapologetic defense of the right to secede. Christopher Heath Wellman argues that any group has a moral right to secede as long as its political divorce will leave it and the remainder state in a position to perform the requisite political functions. He explains that there is nothing contradictory about valuing legitimate states, while permitting their division. Once political states are recognized as valuable because of (...) the functions that they are uniquely suited to perform, it becomes apparent that the territorial boundaries of existing states might permissably be redrawn as long as neither the process, nor the result of this reconfiguration, interrupts the production of the crucial political benefits. Thus, if one values self-determination, then one has good reason to conclude that people have a right to determine their political boundaries. (shrink)
In my view, gratitude is better understood as a virtue than as a source of duties. In addition to showing how virtue theory provides a better match for our moral phenomenology of gratitude, I argue that recent work in the area of the suberogatory, our considered judgments concerning the role of third parties, our reluctance to posit claim‐rights to gratitude, and the observations of preceding studies of the subject all lend support to my contention that the language of duties is (...) ill‐suited to describe the moral dynamics of gratitude. (shrink)
COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be scarce for years to come. Many countries, from India to the U.K., have demonstrated vaccine nationalism. What are the ethical limits to this vaccine nationalism? Neither extreme nationalism nor extreme cosmopolitanism is ethically justifiable. Instead, we propose the fair priority for residents framework, in which governments can retain COVID-19 vaccine doses for their residents only to the extent that they are needed to maintain a noncrisis level of mortality while they are implementing reasonable public (...) health interventions. Practically, a noncrisis level of mortality is that experienced during a bad influenza season, which society considers an acceptable background risk. Governments take action to limit mortality from influenza, but there is no emergency that includes severe lockdowns. This “flu-risk standard” is a nonarbitrary and generally accepted heuristic. Mortality above the flu-risk standard justifies greater governmental interventions, including retaining vaccines for a country's own citizens over global need. The precise level of vaccination needed to meet the flu-risk standard will depend upon empirical factors related to the pandemic. This links the ethical principles to the scientific data emerging from the emergency. Thus, the FPR framework recognizes that governments should prioritize procuring vaccines for their country when doing so is necessary to reduce mortality to noncrisis flu-like levels. But after that, a government is obligated to do its part to share vaccines to reduce risks of mortality for people in other countries. We consider and reject objections to the FPR framework based on a country: having developed a vaccine, raising taxes to pay for vaccine research and purchase, wanting to eliminate economic and social burdens, and being ineffective in combating COVID-19 through public health interventions. (shrink)
This essay critically assesses Anna Stilz's argument in Territorial Sovereignty: A Philosophical Exploration that legitimate states have a right to do wrong. I concede that individuals enjoy a claim against external interference when they commit suberogatory acts, but I deny that the right to do wrong extends to acts that would violate the rights of others. If this is correct, then one must do more than merely invoke an individual's right to do wrong if one hopes to vindicate a legitimate (...) state's right to commit injustices. Of course, there may be distinctive features of legitimate states that explain why they enjoy moral protections that individuals lack, but I argue that the value of collective self-determination is not up to this task. And even if these arguments fail, self-determination would at most explain why legitimate states enjoy a right to commit injustices against their own citizens; it would provide them no moral protection when they violate the rights of outsiders. (shrink)
Applied or practical ethics is perhaps the largest growth area in philosophy today, and many issues in moral, social, and political life have come under philosophical scrutiny in recent years. Taken together, the essays in this volume – including two overview essays on theories of ethics and the nature of applied ethics – provide a state-of-the-art account of the most pressing moral questions facing us today. Provides a comprehensive guide to many of the most significant problems of practical ethics Offers (...) state-of-the-art accounts of issues in medical, environmental, legal, social, and business ethics Written by major philosophers presently engaged with these complex and profound ethical issues. (shrink)
The brand of cosmopolitanism that Cécile Fabre develops in her excellent book, Cosmopolitan Peace, leaves room for qualifying groups to exercise political self‐determination. Important questions thus emerge regarding who is entitled to have a say in the group's self‐determination, questions that take on a heightened practical urgency in the wake of wars that cause massive migration. In this article, I call into question Fabre's contention that the descendants of unjust occupants necessarily acquire occupancy rights which entitle them to a say (...) in the political self‐determination over the territory on which they currently reside. (shrink)
Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics features pairs of newly commissioned essays by some of the leading theorists working in the field today. Brings together fresh debates on eleven of the most controversial issues in applied ethics Topics addressed include abortion, affirmative action, animals, capital punishment, cloning, euthanasia, immigration, pornography, privacy in civil society, values in nature, and world hunger. Lively debate format sharply defines the issues, and paves the way for further discussion. Will serve as an accessible introduction to the (...) major topics in applied ethics, whilst also capturing the imagination of professional philosophers. (shrink)
After defining a hate crime as an offense in which the criminal selects the victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs, this essay surveys the standard justifications for state punishment en route to defending the permissibility of imposing stiffer penalties for hate crimes. It also argues that many standard instances of rape and domestic battery are hate crimes and may be punished as such.
In this essay, I argue that absent special circumstances, there are no moral, judicial procedural rights. I divide this essay into four main sections. First, I argue that there is no general moral right against double jeopardy. Next, I explain why punishing a criminal without first establishing her guilt via a fair trial does not necessarily violate her rights. In the third section, I respond to a number of possible objections. And finally, I consider the implications of my arguments for (...) the human right to due process. (shrink)
: After defining a hate crime as an offense in which the criminal selects the victim at least in part because of an animus toward members of the group to which the victim belongs, this essay surveys the standard justifications for state punishment en route to defending the permissibility of imposing stiffer penalties for hate crimes. It also argues that many standard instances of rape and domestic battery are hate crimes and may be punished as such.
In this book, Christopher Heath Wellman offers original theories of political legitimacy and our obligation to obey the law, and then, building upon these accounts, defends a number of distinctive positions concerning the rights and responsibilities individual citizens, separatist groups, and political states have regarding one another.
This dissertation provides a systematic analysis of when an individual or group has a right to secede that is grounded in self-determination. Since the primary question in a secessionist conflict concerns the territory being contested, any analysis of the right to secede must provide an account of what grounds the existing state's claim to political jurisdiction over its territory. With this in mind, I examine consent and teleological justifications for the state and find both inadequate. ;The consent account posits that (...) a political state is justified just in case it has the consent of its citizens. I reject the consent approach for its unacceptable implication that unlimited secession is permissible from all existing states. I then suggest that our disinclination to allow unlimited secession is instructive since it indicates not only that we believe a consentual justification is morally unnecessary, but also that a state is justified in virtue of the peace it secures and the rights it protects. This teleological justification ultimately proves inadequate as well, however, because it both restricts secessionist movements that seem permissible and allows coercive annexations that appear clearly unjustified. ;As an alternative to these extremes, I propose a hybrid model of political legitimacy. According to my theory, while individuals and small groups may not secede, a larger group may, provided it is of sufficient size to satisfactorily perform the functions that are necessary for a state to ground its claim to territory. Thus I conclude a political state should limit political liberty in a manner analogous to the way it legitimately limits the liberty to drive a car. Specifically, since many people would be harmed if there were no legal restrictions on who could drive, states institute age and health requirements limiting who may drive. Citizens not eliminated by these standards must also demonstrate a minimum threshold of competence by passing tests. In similar fashion, a state may initially restrict the right to secede to groups of a specific size, and then further require that interested parties demonstrate their ability and willingness to govern in a stable, efficient, and liberal manner. (shrink)