In his novel The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey presents human beings under vexation. The novel begins in medias res, twenty years after a fungal outbreak, as Homo sapiens are on the brink of evolutionary extinction. Evolution, initiated by the spread of a fungus that first controls and then destroys its human hosts, has necessitated that human beings either adapt, thereby revealing humanity’s true potential, or die.1 Adaptation is impossible for Homo sapiens; the human body in its (...) current form cannot coexist with the fungus. In order to preserve humanity, humanoid creatures must become a new species of posthumans. The novel explores the responses both of the surviving humans, as they face their deaths and... (shrink)
Aristotle wrote his Nicomachean Ethics as a rational guide to virtuous activity for those people who have been well brought up and are interested in improving themselves.1 For the rest of us, Aristotle suggests that beating is the only solution. In this essay, I shall first use Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, supplemented by Plato's Gorgias, to provide a defense of beating as a way to intrude concerns of character conversion upon the attention of people impervious to argument. Closer analysis, though, shows (...) that beating is not enough. The person beaten makes no choices in the beating and is presented with no alternative options for future actions. We... (shrink)
While people’s lives continue to be put at risk by the dearth of organs available for transplantation, we must give urgent consideration to any option that may make up the shortfall. A market in organs from living donors is one such option. The market should be ethically supportable, and have built into it, for example, safeguards against wrongful exploitation. This can be accomplished by establishing a single purchaser system within a confined marketplace.Statistics can be dehumanising. The following numbers, however, have (...) more impact than most: as of 24th November, during 2002 in the United Kingdom, 667 people have donated organs, 2055 people have received transplants, and 5615 people are still awaiting transplants.1 It is difficult to estimate how many people die prematurely for want of donor organs. “In the world as a whole there are an estimated 700 000 patients on dialysis . . . . In India alone 100 000 new patients present with kidney failure each year”2 . Almost “three million Americans suffer from congestive heart failure . . . deaths related to this condition are estimated at 250 000 each year . . . …. (shrink)
Janet Radcliffe Richards is as always to the point and radical. We agree with her that “if it is presumptively bad to prevent sales altogether because lives will be lost . . . it is for the same reason presumptively bad to restrict the selling of organs”. Her complaint against our paper is that we are unnecessarily restrictive. John Harris indeed has argued that there are no sound ethical or philosophical reasons for objecting on principle to the sale of live (...) tissue and organs.1 If a scheme can be devised …. (shrink)
An international team of eighteen doctors, philosophers, and lawyers present a fresh and thorough discussion of the ethical, legal, and social issues raised by testing and screening for HIV and AIDS. They aim to point the way to practical advances but also to give an accessible guide for those new to the debate.
This collection examines questions of medical accountability and ethics. It analyses how the criminal justice system regulates health care practice, and to what extent it is appropriate to use it as a tool to resolve ethical conflict in health care.
The symposiasts press from a number of directions. Erin Kelly contends that Hume’s stability-based sentimentalist ethics cannot do justice to our considered normative moral judgements. Schmitt and Williams criticize my account of Hume’s epistemology proper. I will have to give ground: my book does overstate the extent to which Hume reaches a destructive result, in large part because I overlook significant variants of a stability account of justification. I make other concessions—in regard to the country gentlemen passage and Hume’s (...) 1.3.9 treatment of resemblance—but believe these have limited repercussions. (shrink)
This paper presents the results of a national study of the beliefs and perceptions of small business professionals concerning ethics within their company and business in general. The study examined their views on the relationship between success and ethical conduct as well as the extent and nature of ethical conflicts experienced by the respondents. Some comparisons are made with similar studies that have been conducted in the past. Respondents have the most ethical conflicts with customers and employees, and with regard (...) to honesty in contracts/agreements. Most also believe that ethical standards are lower than they were 10 and 20 years ago, primarily because society's moral standards are lower. Additionally, they believe that the behavior of top management has the most influence on decisions in ethical situations. Finally, consistent with prior studies, they believe that they have the most responsibility to customers, ahead of employees and stockholders. (shrink)
Feminism and Farming: A Response to Paul Thompson’s the Agrarian Vision Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9328-0 Authors Erin McKenna, Department of Philosophy, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Adults reason by exclusivity to identify the meanings of novel words. However, it is debated whether, like children, they extend this strategy to disambiguate other referential expressions. To further inform this debate, this study tested 41 adults on four conditions of a disambiguation task: label/label, fact/fact, label/fact, and fact/label. Participants also provided a verbal explanation for their referent selections to tease apart the underlying processes. Results indicated that adults successfully discerned the target object in the label/label and label/fact condition, yet (...) not the remaining two conditions. Verbal reports indicated that the strategy utilized to disambiguate differed depending upon communicative context. These findings confirm that the tendency to reason by exclusivity becomes restricted to word-learning situations with growing linguistic and communicative experience. (shrink)
What has a use in the future, unforeseeably, is radically useless now. What has an effect now is not necessarily useful if it falls through the gaps. In _For a Pragmatics of the Useless_ Erin Manning examines what falls outside the purview of already-known functions and established standards of value, not for want of potential but for carrying an excess of it. The figures are various: the infrathin, the artful, proprioceptive tactility, neurodiversity, black life. It is around the latter (...) two that a central refrain echoes: "All black life is neurodiverse life." This is not an equation, but an "approximation of proximity." Manning shows how neurotypicality and whiteness combine to form a normative baseline for existence. Blackness and neurodiversity "schizz" around the baseline, uselessly, pragmatically, figuring a more-than of life living. Manning, in dialogue with Félix Guattari and drawing on the black radical tradition's accounts of black life and the aesthetics of black sociality, proposes a "schizoanalysis" of the more-than, charting a panoply of techniques for other ways of living and learning. (shrink)
Erin Plunkett draws from both analytic and continental sources to argue for the philosophical relevance of style, making the case that the essay form is uniquely suited to address the sceptical problem. The authors examined here-Montaigne, Hume, the early German Romantics, Kierkegaard and Stanley Cavell-bring into relief the relationship between scepticism and ordinary life and situate the will to know within a broader frame of meaningful human activity. The formal features of the essay call attention to time, subjectivity, and (...) language as the existential conditions of knowledge. -/- In contrast to foundationalist approaches, which expect philosophy to reach empirical or rational certainty, Plunkett demonstrates through these writings the philosophical advantages of a fragmentary, non-dogmatic style of writing. A Philosophy of the Essay shows how this medium can help us come to terms with the contingency and uncertainty of life. (shrink)
Erin Kelly’s The Limits of Blame presents a critique of our current overly-punitive legal system and champions a system of criminal justice that does not traffic in moral blame and is free of retributivist elements. This commentary questions the viability of such a system, and ultimately suggests that there is not much distance between a more perfect retributivist system and the kind of nuanced and humane system of criminal justice that Kelly envisions.
Cross-cultural scholarship in ritual studies on women's laments provides us with a fresh vantage point from which to consider the function of women and women's complaining voices in the epic poems of William Blake. In this essay, I interpret Thel, Oothoon, and Enitharmon as strong voices of experience that unleash some of Blake's most profound meditations on social, sexual, individual, and institutional forms of violence and injustice, offering what might aptly be called an ethics of witness. Tracing the performative function (...) of Enion, Jerusalem, Vala, and Erin in Blake's later epics, The Four Zoas and Jerusalem , I argue for the close connection between the female laments and the possibility of redemption, though in Blake such "redemption" comes at the cost of the very voices of witness themselves. (shrink)
Erin McKenna is correct to question the relative weight that I give to emotions and reason in Animal Liberation. In 1975 when the first edition was published, emotion played a key role in the campaigns of animal societies, and I wished to make an appeal to reason that would have ethical and political impact. I disagree with McKenna’s conclusion that an impartial, objective stance is either impossible or undesirable. I argue that we should not abandon the attempt to reach (...) an impartial position. Admittedly, in some disputes, giving equal weight to all interests will be extraordinarily difficult. But to do so is not impossible, just extraordinarily difficult, and a decision must be made regarding which course is better on the whole. This difficulty gives no reason to abandon impartiality. (shrink)
American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present by Erin McKenna and Scott Pratt is an introduction to the history of American Philosophy from the period of 1894 to the present, grounded in an outlook informed by classical pragmatism. Spanning thirty-two chapters and covering dozens of figures, the text is as comprehensive a survey of American Philosophy as I have ever come across. While the book includes a list of the usual suspects with chapters devoted to figures like Emerson, (...) James, and Dewey, the book is also a veritable Who's Who of who is missing from the American canon. For those working in the American tradition with a predilection toward pluralism, this characteristic is particularly noteworthy. The... (shrink)
In this paper I shall be arguing against the claim made by Erin and Harris and others, that creating a “regulated market” in organs for transplantation taken from living vendors is both viable practically and a moral imperative. No-one can doubt that there is currently a crisis in the provision of organs for transplantation, with a massive gap between supply and demand. There are a number of reasons for this crisis. Since its development as a life-saving measure in the (...) second half of the last century, organ transplantation has expanded exponentially, both in terms of survival rates, the number of people on the waiting list for the procedure, and the range of transplantable organs. Advances in immuno-suppression and in prevention of infection have led to improvement in both the survival of the recipients and of the transplanted organs. At the same time, there has been an increase in repeat transplantations and in multiple organ transplants. The range of conditions for which transplantation is offered has widened, and transplantable organs now include: kidney, liver, pancreas, heart and lung. Brain-dead donors can provide all of these organs, while the kidney and sections of the liver and pancreas can also be obtained from living donors. Survival outcomes are better from living donors than from cadaveric donors, and, in the case of kidney failure, better from transplantation than from dialysis. [End Page 164] The relevant question, however, is whether permitting a market in human organs is morally justifiable, and, even if it were, whether it would provide a solution to the current crisis. I argue in this paper that organ trading is wrong in principle, since it commodifies the human body and inevitably exploits the poor and the socially vulnerable, and that, far from alleviating the crisis, it is likely to make it worse. First we should note that there is an uncompromising opposition to all forms of organ trading from two major international healthcare organisations. (shrink)
in their book American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present, contemporary philosophers Erin McKenna and Scott Pratt identify "living in a context of difference" as the central philosophical issue in the history of the United States. They credit W. E. B. Du Bois with having identified racial difference as one particular version of this general issue: "Du Bois once declared that the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line—the problem of the coexistence of (...) differences that figure in our existence as members of communities". For McKenna and Pratt, this continues to be the central philosophical problem in the United States, and perhaps globally, today: "From the... (shrink)
In his most recent book, Philip Pettit presents and defends a “republican” political philosophy that stems from a tradition that includes Cicero, Machiavelli, James Harrington, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Madison. The book provides an interpretation of what is distinctive about republicanism—namely, Pettit claims, its notion of freedom as nondomination. He sketches the history of this notion, and he argues that it entails a unique justification of certain political arrangements and the virtues of citizenship that would make those arrangements possible. Of (...) historical and philosophical interest, he stresses, is the fundamental contrast between freedom as nondomination and slavery. Joseph Priestly, for instance, invoked this contrast in defending the cause of the American Revolution, and in 1769 declared, incredibly, that if the parliament of Great Britain continued to tax the American colonies, “the colonists will be reduced to a state of as complete servitude, as any people of which there is an account in history”. Those opposed to American independence, among them Jeremy Bentham, relied instead on a Hobbesian notion of freedom as noninterference, using it to argue that the colonists were no more interfered with by the British government than were citizens of Britain. Drawing out this contrast, Pettit aims to establish that a republican view of freedom better supports the institutions of a constitutional democracy than does liberalism. His account of the distinguishing characteristics and strengths of republicanism is, however, only partially successful. Neither his case that a republican notion of freedom provides for a more solid defense of democratic institutions and constitutional protections than is available within liberalism, nor his argument that republicanism can better address “private” injustices, is convincing. (shrink)
If someone says, “Asians are good at math” or “women are empathetic,” I might interject, “you're stereotyping” in order to convey my disapproval of their utterance. But why is stereotyping wrong? Before we can answer this question, we must better understand what stereotypes are and what stereotyping is. In this essay, I develop what I call the descriptive view of stereotypes and stereotyping. This view is assumed in much of the psychological and philosophical literature on implicit bias and stereotyping, yet (...) it has not been sufficiently defended. The main objection to the descriptive view is that it fails to include the common-sense idea that stereotyping is always objectionable. I argue that this is actually a benefit of the view. In the essay's final part, I put forward two hypotheses that would validate the claim that stereotyping is always morally or epistemically wrong. If these hypotheses are false—which is very likely—we have little reason to build moral or epistemic defect into the very idea of a stereotype. Moreover, we must abandon the seemingly attractive claim that judging individuals based on group membership is intrinsically wrong. (shrink)
Virtue ethical theories typically follow a neo-Aristotelian or quasi-Aristotelian model, making use of various combinations of key features of the Aristotelian model including eudaimonism, perfectionism, an account of practical wisdom, and the thesis of the unity of the virtues. In this paper I motivate what I call a Humean virtue ethic, which is a deeply particularist account of virtue that rejects all of these central tenets, at least in their traditional forms. Focusing on three factors by which Hume determines virtue, (...) I show that this view of virtue resonates with the aims of the moral particularist, who holds that there are no general moral principles and that right action is determined only with reference to context and on a case-by-case basis. I use Hume’s texts to introduce and motivate three claims, which I find plausible, and which I will show can be read together as entailing an interesting and underappreciated picture of virtue that is also able to solve an important dilemma for particularist virtue ethics. (shrink)
While there has been extensive research on deception, extant literature has not examined how deception is processed solely from the customer's perspective. Extensive qualitative interviews were conducted and analyzed to inform the proposed framework. Cognitive dissonance theory and attribution theory are used to frame the process consumers go through when deception is perceived. When consumers perceive deceit, they will consider attribution before determining intentionality. Internal attributions relieve the company of wrongdoing to some extent, whereas external attributions lead consumers to examine (...) several elements of deception including intent. Unintentional deceit will trigger assessments of magnitude, stability, and switching costs; while less is considered when deceit is intentional. The findings of this research are important for advancing theory in relation to deceit and for helping practitioners understand the importance of changing consumer cognitions before consumers decide to change their behavior by discontinuing the relationship. (shrink)
Among philosophers, the question about strategic fouls has been whether they are ethically justified in light of our best conception of sport. This paper proposes a different defense. I argue that many strategic fouls should be excused even if we regard them as unjustified. I first lay out a partial defense of the assumptions that playing to win cannot be subordinate to playing skillfully and that winning has value that cannot be accounted for in terms of the skill that produces (...) it. I then argue that the logic of competitive play structures practical reason such that it is unreasonable to require even an ethical competitor always to subordinate the aim of winning to ethical standards within the game. Some ethical failures should be excused. The argument implies limits on the excusing conditions. I discuss these limits in some detail, showing that they fit patterns in the common acceptance of strategic fouls. I then address possible objections. In conclusion I argue that the logic of excuse rather than justification explains a common reaction to strategic fouls, resolving what might otherwise appear to be a contradiction in that reaction. (shrink)
Hume’s moral philosophy is a sentiment-based view. Moral judgment is a matter of the passions; certain traits of character count as virtues or vices because of the approval or disapproval they evoke in us, feelings that express concern we have about the social effects of these traits. A sentiment-based approach is attractive, since morality seems fundamentally to involve caring for other people. Sentiment-based views, however, face a real challenge. It is clear that our affections are often particular; we favor certain (...) persons over others. This poses a problem when it comes to determining the proper content of morality. The ties of sentiment would seem to be in tension with the aspirations of morality toward impartiality and universality. (shrink)
Are utopian visions viable in the 21st century? Utopia has been equated, for many, with totalitarianism. Such visions are not acceptable. The loss of utopian visions altogether is also unacceptable. This book argues that American Pragmatism and Feminist theory can combine to provide a process model of utopia that pushes to build a flexible future that helps us deal with change, conflict, and diversity without resorting to fixed ends.
Conventionalists about promising believe that it is wrong to break a promise because the promisor takes advantage of a useful social convention only to fail to do his part in maintaining it. Anti-conventionalists claim that the wrong of breaking a promise has nothing essentially to do with a social convention. Anti-conventionalists are right that the social convention is not necessary to explain the wrong of breaking most promises. But conventionalists are right that the convention plays an essential role in any (...) satisfactory account of promising. A new conventionalism can explain this by appealing to special features of social conventions. Two of these special features have important implications for any moral requirements they mediate, such as the requirement to keep one's promises and the moral requirements attached to social or occupational roles. First, these requirements will not depend on features of a situation that are inaccessible to typical participants in the convention. Second, these requirements often cannot be tailored to fit the overly unusual circumstances of participants. (shrink)
A core tenet of research ethics is that risks assumed by research participants are reasonable, balanced, and minimized in relation to benefit to the individual and to society. It is also generally accepted that people who cannot give their own informed consent ought only to be exposed to low risks in research, unless there is a compensating potential for direct benefit.However, there is no consensus on whether individuals should be able to voluntarily consent to high net risk in research—or, in (...) other words, to research that is not justified by direct benefits to the individual and must be justified by benefits to others in society. The Belmont Report—perhaps the most canonical document in research ethics—does not... (shrink)