We examine a set of debates in Practical Ethics commonly labeled “the ethics of human enhancement.” Our essay focuses on (1) conceptual concerns about the limits of legitimate health care—the treatment vs. enhancement distinction, (2) moral considerations about fairness, authenticity, and human nature that are common in discussing the use of medical technologies in competitive institutions like sports and academia, and (3) broader issues that pertain to science policy and the distribution and regulation of medical technologies.
I present Lockean considerations that count in favor of a global basic income program. This paper articulates a conception of equal-share left-libertarianism that is supported by the moral rights of full self-ownership and world-ownership. It is argued that, according to this view, an appropriately constructed global basic income program would be a key institution for promoting the rights of full self-ownership and world-ownership.
Following Kahneman and Tversky, I examine the term ‘bias’ as it is used to refer to systematic errors. Given the central role of error in this understanding of bias, it is helpful to consider what it is to err and to distinguish different kinds of error. I identify two main kinds of error, examine ethical issues that pertain to the relation of these types of error, and explain their moral significance. Next, I provide a four-level explanatory framework for understanding biases: (...) personal, sub-personal, situational, and systemic levels. Finally, I examine some of the ethical complexities involved in attributing biases to oneself and to others. (shrink)
We describe the legal practice of using civil court orders to mandate outpatient mental health treatment for adults with serious mental illness. After briefly placing the practice in historical context, we discuss the traditional clinical rationale and assumptions underlying outpatient commitment and its legal variants, as well as how the predominant and controversial preventive form of outpatient commitment emerged in the U.S. to address limitations of earlier versions of these laws, such as "conditional release." We then consider whether, and under (...) what conditions, outpatient commitment may be ethical, and we provide a conceptual framework for deciding such questions at the policy and individual-case levels. (shrink)
Decisional capacity evaluations (DCEs) occur in clinical settings where it is unclear whether a consumer of medical services has the capacity to make an informed decision about the relevant medical options. DCEs are localized interventions, not the global loss of competence, that assign a surrogate decision maker to make the decision on behalf of the medical consumer. We maintain that one important necessary condition for a DCE to be morally justified, in cases of medical necessity, is that the health care (...) consumer under evaluation is incapable of expressing a preference for a certain outcome. (shrink)
I reconstruct Bernard Williams’ integrity-based critique of Act-Utilitarianism (AU). I contend that Williams presents a compelling argument against AU, but the argument does not generalize to all impartial moral theories. I argue that Williams’ conception of personal integrity as the pursuit of one’s projects presents a strong objection to AU and it reveals the importance of widening the scope of morality to include considerations of partial inter-personal relations. I also contend that Williams’ conception of integrity can withstand the scrutiny brought (...) upon it by the self-indulgence objection. However, defenders of his conception of integrity must admit that personal integrity does place one in the danger of having evil projects. (shrink)
John Harris's influential work on human enhancement has advocated the development, use, and exchange of human enhancement technologies. The types of enhancements that are of interest are biomedical interventions that are used to improve human capacities beyond what is necessary to achieve or maintain health or "normal functioning". This new book is unique in Harris's body of work in that it takes a more cautious stance regarding moral enhancements than he has taken toward other forms of human enhancement, such as (...) cognitive enhancements. I examine and evaluate Harris's main arguments for this cautious stance. Two of the main issues that are discussed are: (1) whether it would be unethical for someone to use biomedical technologies to become less racist and (2) whether it would be unethical for someone to use biomedical technologies to reduce impulsive violent aggression. (shrink)
This essay is the introduction to a special debate issue of the journal "Basic Income Studies" on the topic of whether libertarians should endorse a universal basic income. The essay attempts to clarify some common uses of the term 'libertarianism" as it is used by moral and political philosophers. It identifies some important common features of libertarian normative theories.
Psychiatric disorders usually do not have characteristic physical exam findings, imaging, or lab values. Psychiatrists therefore diagnose and treat patients largely based on reported or observed behavior, which makes collateral information from a patient’s close contacts especially pertinent to an accurate diagnosis. The American Psychiatric Association considers communication with patients’ supports a best practice when the patient provides informed consent or does not object to the communication. However, situations arise in which a patient’s objection to such communication is the product (...) of impaired decision-making and the benefits of obtaining collateral information represent best practice. In this article a framework for addressing these situations is proposed using a full decisional capacity evaluation, followed by an alternate decision-making process by concurrence from a second physician. It is recommended that a patient’s refusal to allow the gathering of collateral information should be addressed exactly like refusals for other diagnostic or treatment interventions. (shrink)
This groundbreaking volume of original essays presents fresh avenues of inquiry at the intersection of philosophy and psychiatry. Contributors draw from a variety of fields, including evolutionary psychiatry, phenomenology, biopsychosocial models, psychoanalysis, neuroscience, neuroethics, behavioral economics, and virtue theory. Philosophy and Psychiatry’s unique structure consists of two parts: in the first, philosophers write five lead essays with replies from psychiatrists. In the second part, this arrangement is reversed. The result is an interdisciplinary exchange that allows for direct discourse, and a (...) volume at the forefront of defining an emerging discipline. Philosophy and Psychiatry will be of interest to professionals in philosophy and psychiatry, as well as mental health researchers and clinicians. (shrink)
We identify three points of intersection between economics and ethics: the ethics of economics, ethics in economics and ethics out of economics. These points of intersection reveal three types of conversation between economists and moral philosophers that have produced, and may continue to produce, fruitful exchange between the disciplines.
Kane's ambitious and bold book presents a sustained argument for an ethical theory that gives an account of right action and the good life. The general structure of the main argument is presented and specific points are critically discussed.
This essay explores philosophical questions about practical identity that emerge in David Cronenberg's films, "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises." I distinguish the metaphysical problems of personal identity from the practical problems and contend that the latter are of central importance to the topic of authenticity. Central scenes from both films are examined with an eye to their engagement with the issues of authenticity and self-creation.