Suppose a fire broke out in a fertility clinic. One had time to save either a young girl, or a tray of ten human embryos. Would it be wrong to save the girl? According to Michael Sandel, the moral intuition is to save the girl; what is more, one ought to do so, and this demonstrates that human embryos do not possess full personhood, and hence deserve only limited respect and may be killed for medical research. We will argue, however, (...) that no relevant ethical implications can be drawn from the thought experiment. It demonstrates neither that one always ought to let the embryos die, nor does it allow for any general conclusion concerning the moral status of human embryos. (shrink)
When in doubt, for the embryo. New arguments on the moral status of human embryos. - In the first part of our essay we distinguish the philosophical from the legal and political level of the embryo debate and describe our indirect justification strategy. It consists in renouncing a determination of the dignity-giving φ-properties and instead starting from premises that are undoubted by all discussion partners. In the second part we reconstruct and criticize the species, continuum, identity and potentiality arguments. The (...) species argument only has a certain plausibility, if at all, as a critical argument. From the continuum argument and identity argument we take over the idea of numerical identity (NI) and link it with the core idea of the potentiality argument (P). So we come to the NIP argument: -/- (NIP) -/- (1) Every living human body that is the bearer of (or has) potential φ-properties has dignity. (2) Every viable human embryo is a living human body that is the bearer of (or has) potential φ properties. Therefore, (3) Every viable human embryo has dignity. -/- Reversibly comatose people and newborns are protected because they have the potential to have actual personal characteristics in the future; our thesis is that embryos that are capable of development also have the same potential in moral terms. The basic idea of numerical identity, with which we support the second premise, is that every human being, from embryonic existence to adulthood, forms a physical unity. In a detailed part, we deal with the crown princess, gametes, parthenogenesis, somatic cell, pronuclear stage, biological heteronome early embryo, multiple, fusion, Siamese twin, hydatidiform mole and finally trophoblast problems. In a third part, the indirect argument is supplemented by a metatheoretical cautionary argument. It states that in situations where there is doubt as to whether a being falls within the scope of a moral norm, but there are sufficiently strong reasons for this subsumption, it must be assumed that this is the case if the contrary assumption and the positive effects it may have are in no acceptable proportion to the moral harm that would result if that subsumption were not made. The main result of our considerations is therefore: When in doubt, for the embryo. (shrink)
When does a human being begin to exist? Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard have argued that it is possible, through a combination of biological fact and philosophical analysis, to provide a definitive answer to this question. In their view, a human individual begins to exist at gastrulation, i. e. at about sixteen days after fertilization. In this paper we argue that even granting Smith and Brogaard's ontological commitments and biological assumptions, the existence of a human being can be shown to (...) begin much earlier, viz., with fertilization. Their interpretative claim that a zygote divides immediately into two substances and therefore ceases to exist is highly implausible by their own standards, and their factual claim that there is no communication between the blastomeres has to be abandoned in light of recent embryological research. (shrink)
Kant is by no means the pure rationalist that Husserl and others represented him as being. To the contrary I claim that Kant is an ethical intuitionist when it comes to our recognition of the validity of the moral law. Interpreting Kant’s famous thesis about the “fact of reason”, I will first argue for three interpretative theses: 1. The factum theory explains our insight into the binding character of the moral law; it is a theory of justification. 2. In our (...) consciousness of the categorical imperative, the moral law is immediately given in its unconditional and binding validity. 3. The unconditional validity of the CI is given in the feeling of respect. Drawing on basic thoughts of Reformed Epistemology, I will then sketch a way to defend Kant’s theory. (shrink)
The so-called ”argument from religious experience’ plays a prominent role in today’s analytical philosophy of religion. It is also of considerable importance to richard Swinburne’s apologetic project. However, rather than joining the polyphonic debate around this argument, the present paper examines the fundamental concept of religious experience. The upshot is that Swinburne neither develops a convincing concept of experience nor explains what makes a religious experience religious. The first section examines some problems resulting mainly from terminology, specifically Swinburne’s use of (...) appear-words as success-verbs. While these problems might be resolved by a recurrence to the observer, the second and third part of our paper present problems not so easily resolved: namely, that Swinburne’s concept of experience as conscious mental events is too broad and inaccurate for its role in the argument given ; and that Swinburne does not even attempt to figure out which features of an experience, when present, turn an experience simpliciter into a distinctly religious experience. Section 4, in conclusion, outlines possible reasons for this unusual and remarkable inaccuracy in conceptualisation. (shrink)
In the Introduction of the Tugendlehre, Kant identifies love of human beings as one of the four moral predispositions that make us receptive to the moral law. We claim that this love is neither benevolence nor the aptitude of the inclination to beneficence in general (both are also called love of human beings); rather it is amor complacentiae, which Kant understands as the delight in moral striving for perfection. We also provide a detailed analysis of Kant's almost completely neglected theory (...) of moral predispositions. They are necessary conditions to be aware of the moral law and to be motivated by it. (shrink)
There is hardly an analogy in the history of philosophy that has been referred to as often as the one that Kant himself draws in the second preface of the Critique of pure reason between Copernicus′ revolution in astronomy and his own revolution in metaphysics; and yet there is to the present day no detailed analysis thereof. The analogy is much more complex than meets the superficial eye: In the first passage , Kant does not draw a simple comparison to (...) Copernicus′ famous heliocentric hypothesis . In the second passage , Kant connects the reference to Copernicus with a reference to Newton by drawing an extremely rich analogy between the law of gravitation and the moral law of freedom. The revolution in metaphysics is related to the revolution in ethics; that famous analogy of Kant really is a Copernican-Newtonian analogy. (shrink)
In the debate about the moral status of human embryos, it is not always clear which arguments are actually disputed. This book offers students and researchers, but also laypersons interested in the current debate, the opportunity to inform themselves about the current state of discussion and to learn about the most important arguments in a clear and concise form. These arguments are as follows: Since embryos as members of the species homo sapiens sapiens are human beings, they possess dignity (species (...) argument); embryos develop continuously, i.e. without morally relevant incisions, into adult human beings possessing dignity (continuum argument); embryos are identical with adult human beings possessing dignity (identity argument); embryos have the potential to become human beings, and this potential is without restriction worth protecting (potentiality argument). These arguments are each represented by a pro position and a contra position and defended or criticized. In an accompanying contribution by the editors, the four arguments in context are reconstructed, evaluated, and supported by new arguments. (shrink)
De acordo com um preconceito bastante difundido no meio filosófico, a filosofia prática de Kant não levaria em consideração os sentimentos e emoções. Uma análise cuidadosa dos escritos de Kant revela, no entanto, o papel central exercido pelos sentimentos em sua ética. Neste artigo examinaremos o conceito de amor em Kant e tentaremos aproximá-lo da discussão sobre o amor na tradição analítica contemporânea, especialmente na filosofia do amor de Harry Frankfurt.
Discussing the concept of duty in Groundwork 1, Kant refers to a ‘second proposition’ and a ‘third proposition’, the latter being a ‘Folgerung aus beiden vorigen’. However, Kant does not identify what the ‘first proposition’ is. In this paper, I will argue that the first proposition is this: An action from duty is an action from respect for the moral law. I defend this claim against a critique put forward by Allison according to which ‘respect’ is a concept that is (...) not, and could not be, introduced in paragraphs 9–13 of Groundwork 1. Further, I will argue that the first proposition as I understand it can also be reconstructed as the conclusion (‘Folgerung’) of a deductive argument proper; however, I will also discuss the option that ‘Folgerung’ could be understood as a corollary rather than a conclusion. Finally, Allison's own interpretation will be criticized. (shrink)
Unbemerkt von der internationalen Philosophie gibt es seit fast dreißig Jahren eine deutsche Debatte über die Frage, ob die Hauptthese des Fallibilismus – keine Aussage ist sicher – widersprüchlich sei. Wir werden zeigen, daß diese Debatte auf beiden Seiten an begrifflichen Unklarheiten und fehlenden Unterscheidungen leidet. Die insbesondere von Karl-Otto Apel und Wolfgang Kuhlmann vorgetragenen Vorwürfe der Selbstimmunisierung und der Gehaltlosigkeit des Fallibilismus erweisen sich als unbegründet. Daraus folgt allerdings nicht, daß der von Hans Albert und Herbert Keuth verteidigte Fallibilismus (...) wirklich haltbar ist. (shrink)
Esse paper pretende introduzir alguns argumentos no debate atual em Filosofia da Religião, especialmente na controvérsia contra o Naturalismo. Nossa abordagem irá focar no significado moral da ideia de Deus, bem como em outros conceitos morais relevantes, a saber, os conceitos de consciência moral, mundo moral e a ideia mesma de “bem”. Em suma, é nossa intenção demonstrar que a maioria de nossas ideias morais está relacionada a uma Pessoa: Deus. Essa conclusão, como pretendemos demonstrar, refuta o Naturalismo.