We address the ethics of scenarios in which one party entraps, intentionally tempts or intentionally tests the virtue of another. We classify, in a new manner, three distinct types of acts that are of concern, namely acts of entrapment, of intentional temptation and of virtue testing. Our classification is, for each kind of scenario, of itself neutral concerning the question whether the agent acts permissibly. We explain why acts of entrapment are more ethically objectionable than like acts of intentional temptation (...) and why these, in turn, are more ethically objectionable than like acts of virtue testing. Along the way, we scrutinize, and eventually reject, the view that acts of entrapment are ethically unacceptable because intentional temptation is involved in entrapment. (shrink)
Our question is this: What makes an act one of entrapment? We make a standard distinction between legal entrapment, which is carried out by parties acting in their capacities as (or as deputies of) law- enforcement agents, and civil entrapment, which is not. We aim to provide a definition of entrapment that covers both and which, for reasons we explain, does not settle questions of permissibility and culpability. We explain, compare, and contrast two existing definitions of legal entrapment to commit (...) a crime that possess this neutrality. We point out some problems with the extensional correctness of these definitions and propose a new definition that resolves these problems. We then extend our definition to provide a more general definition of entrapment, encompassing both civil and legal cases. Our definition is, we believe, closer to being extensionally correct and will, we hope, provide a clearer basis for future discussions about the ethics of entrapment than do the definitions upon which it improves. (shrink)
Is there an explanation of why the state of x's bearing the non-symmetric binary relation R to y is different from its differential opposite, the state of y's bearing R to x? One traditional view has it that the explanation is that non-symmetric relations hold of objects in an essentially directional way, ordering the relevant relata. We call this view ‘directionalism’. Kit Fine has suggested that this approach is subject to significant metaphysical difficulties, sufficient to motivate seeking an alternative analysis. (...) He considers two such alternative explanations, which he labels ‘positionalism’ and ‘anti-positionalism’. Of these he endorses the latter. We argue that anti-positionalism fails to provide a coherent explanation of the distinction between differential opposites, and that one should simply hold the minimalist position that there is no explanation for this metaphysical difference. (shrink)
In this article I defend a new definition of what it is to commit suicide:(D) A commits suicide by performing an act x if and only if A intends that he or she kill himself or herself by performing x (under the description ‘I kill myself’), and this intention is fully satisfied.The definition has some surprising implications: various real-life examples often referred to as ‘suicides’ (e.g. ‘suicide bombers’) may well turn out not to be suicides after all.1.
In this paper we discuss the question whether God intends that sin occur. We clarify the question, consider some of the answers given in the Christian tradition, and give a careful commentary on a few especially telling passages from the Christian Scriptures. We consider two philosophically informed interpretative strategies, one derived from the work of Frances Kamm, the other from Reformed scholasticism, against our interpretation of these passages. While we concede that in other passages such interpretations may allow a way (...) of escaping our argument, we conclude that in the case of the telling passages we have selected there is simply no comparably plausible alternative interpretation. (shrink)
Some legal theorists say that legal entrapment to commit a crime is incoherent. So far, there is no satisfactorily precise statement of this objection in the literature: it is obscure even as to the type of incoherence that is purportedly involved. (Perhaps consequently, substantial assessment of the objection is also absent.) We aim to provide a new statement of the objection that is more precise and more rigorous than its predecessors. We argue that the best form of the objection asserts (...) that, in attempting to entrap, law-enforcement agents lapse into a form of practical incoherence that involves the attempt simultaneously to pursue contrary ends. We then argue that the objection, in this form, encompasses all cases of legal entrapment only if it is supplemented by appeal to the premise that law-enforcement agents have an absolute duty never to create crimes. (shrink)
We analyse Reach's puzzle, according to which it is impossible to be told anyone's name, because the statement conveying it can be understood only by someone who already knows what it says. We argue that the puzzle can be solved by adverting to the systematic nature of mention when it involves the use of standard quotation marks or similar devices. We then discuss mention more generally and outline an account according to which any mentioning expressions that are competent to solve (...) Reach's puzzle – and in particular those consisting of standard quotation marks and their fillings – have a descriptive analysis: we rebut the usual objections to this account, and show how it is superior to some of the alternatives in the literature. We conclude by briefly connecting the foregoing discussions with semantic theory. (shrink)
Under a ‘dirty hands’ model of undercover policing, it inevitably involves situations where whatever the law-enforcement agent does is morally problematic. Christopher Nathan argues against this model. Nathan’s criticism of the model is predicated on the contention that it entails the view, which he considers objectionable, that morally wrongful acts are central to undercover policing. We address this criticism, and some other aspects of Nathan’s discussion of the ‘dirty hands’ model, specifically in relation to legal entrapment to commit a crime. (...) Following János Kis’s work on political morality, we explain three dilemmatic versions of the ‘dirty hands’ model. We show that while two of these are inapplicable to legal entrapment, the third has better prospects. We then argue that, since the third model precludes Nathan’s criticism, a viable ‘dirty hands’ model of legal entrapment remains an open possibility. Finally, we generalize this result, showing that the case of legal entrapment is not special: the result holds good for policing practices more generally, including such routine practices as arrest, detention, and restraint. (shrink)
This report is the product of the Arts-and-Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities programme. The specific project being undertaken at the University of Liverpool is entitled Philosophy of Religion and Religious Communities: Defining Beliefs and Symbols. The aim of the Liverpool project as a whole is to consider the contribution philosophy of religion can make to recent debates surrounding legal cases alleging religious discrimination. Its orienting question runs, ‘when, if ever, is it acceptable to prohibit the use of religious symbols?’. The (...) present report scrutinises in detail the way in which Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights has been utilised in recent judgments concerning the uses of religious symbolism. It argues that since 1995, Strasbourg jurisprudence, followed, to some extent, by domestic jurisprudence, has displayed what we call ‘the practical turn’. This we analyse as the turn away from seeing actions solely in the light of the antecedent beliefs that they manifest to seeing actions and the practices that they compose in their own right alongside beliefs. The practical turn can, we consider, be given several slightly different detailed readings. One such is that it is the turn from consideration of high-level theoretical systems of belief (such as religions), to which actions and practices are considered subservient, to consideration of individual low-level practical beliefs on an equal footing with the actions that naturally flow from them. (shrink)
Kit Fine has proposed a new solution to what he calls ‘a familiar puzzle’ concerning modality and existence. The puzzle concerns the argument from the alleged truths ‘It is necessary that Socrates is a man’ and ‘It is possible that Socrates does not exist’ to the apparent falsehood ‘It is possible that Socrates is a man and does not exist’. We discuss in detail Fine’s setting up of the ‘puzzle’ and his rejection, with which we concur, of two mooted solutions (...) to it. (One of these uses standard, Kripkean, notions, and the other rests on work done by Arthur Prior.) We set out, and reject, the philosophy of modality underlying Fine’s new solution, and we defend an alternative response to the alleged puzzle. Our solution follows the work of David Wiggins in distinguishing between the sentential operator ‘It is necessary that’ and the predicate modifier ‘necessarily’. We briefly provide this distinction with a possible- world semantics on which it is neither a necessary truth, in some sense, that Socrates exists nor true, in some sense, that Socrates necessarily exists. (shrink)
We discuss how the law and scholars have approached three questions. First, what acts count as acts of entrapment? Secondly, is entrapment a permissible method of law-enforcement and, if so, in what circumstances? Thirdly, what must criminal courts do, in response to the finding that an offence was brought about by an act of entrapment, in order to deliver justice? While noting the contrary tendency, we suggest that the first question should be addressed in a manner that is neutral about (...) the answers to the other two. On the second question, we summarize various arguments about the permissibility of entrapment, while remaining largely neutral about their merits. With regard to the third question, we summarize the approaches to entrapment in various jurisdictions, and we note some patterns, across the jurisdictions here surveyed, concerning shifts from one sort of entrapment remedy to another. (shrink)
In my 2002 piece ‘The Meaning of Life’ I argued that Life, meaning the sum of the lives of all living things, had a meaning if and only if it had been purposefully brought about by a designer or creator. Michael Hauskeller has recently criticized this argument, responding that this sense of ‘meaning’ is not the one in view when we are discussing ‘the meaning of life’. In this piece I respond to Hauskeller's argument, and, while I stand by my (...) 2002 argument in terms of one meaning of ‘meaning’, I admit that it does not apply to the different question of what makes a life meaningful. I assert that glorifying God is the activity that contributes the most meaningfulness to a life, though I deny that this is the only activity that can contribute meaningfulness to a life. This makes me, in terms due to Thaddeus Metz, a moderate supernaturalist rather than an extreme supernaturalist. Despite this distinction, Metz has argued in this volume that moderate supernaturalism is vulnerable to the same objection as in his view defeats extreme supernaturalism, and I close by responding to this argument. (shrink)
Benjamin Schnieder has argued that several traditional definitions of truth-functionality fail to capture a central intuition informal characterizations of the notion often capture. The intuition is that the truth-value of a sentence that employs a truth-functional operator depends upon the truth-values of the sentences upon which the operator operates. Schnieder proposes an alternative definition of truth-functionality that is designed to accommodate this intuition. We argue that one traditional definition of ‘truth-functionality’ is immune from the counterexamples that Schnieder proposes and is (...) preferable to Schnieder’s alternative. (shrink)
I argue that the separation of the conjoined Attard twins of Manchester was not morally justified as it involved intentionally internally affecting (“invading”) the body of the weaker twin without permission and without any advantage to her.