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Ezio Di Nucci
University of Copenhagen
  1. Addiction, Compulsion, and Agency.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (1):105-107.
    I show that Pickard’s argument against the irresistibility of addiction fails because her proposed dilemma, according to which either drug-seeking does not count as action or addiction is resistible, is flawed; and that is the case whether or not one endorses Pickard’s controversial definition of action. Briefly, we can easily imagine cases in which drug-seeking meets Pickard’s conditions for agency without thereby implying that the addiction was not irresistible, as when the drug addict may take more than one route to (...)
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  2. Priming Effects and Free Will.Ezio Di Nucci - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):725-734.
    Abstract I argue that the empirical literature on priming effects does not warrant nor suggest the conclusion, drawn by prominent psychologists such as J. A. Bargh, that we have no free will or less free will than we might think. I focus on a particular experiment by Bargh ? the ?elderly? stereotype case in which subjects that have been primed with words that remind them of the stereotype of the elderly walk on average slower out of the experiment?s room than (...)
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  3. Ethics Without Intention.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - Bloomsbury Academic.
    Ethics Without Intention tackles the questions raised by difficult moral dilemmas by providing a critical analysis of double effect and its most common ethical and political applications. The book discusses the philosophical distinction between intended harm and foreseen but unintended harm. This distinction, which, according to the doctrine of double effect, makes a difference to the moral justification of actions, is widely applied to some of the most controversial ethical and political questions of our time: collateral damages in wars and (...)
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  4. Self-Sacrifice and the Trolley Problem.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (5):662-672.
    Judith Jarvis Thomson has recently proposed a new argument for the thesis that killing the one in the Trolley Problem is not permissible. Her argument relies on the introduction of a new scenario, in which the bystander may also sacrifice herself to save the five. Thomson argues that those not willing to sacrifice themselves if they could may not kill the one to save the five. Bryce Huebner and Marc Hauser have recently put Thomson's argument to empirical test by asking (...)
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  5. Embryo Loss and Double Effect.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):537-540.
    I defend the argument that if embryo loss in stem cell research is morally problematic, then embryo loss in in vivo conception is similarly morally problematic. According to a recent challenge to this argument, we can distinguish between in vivo embryo loss and the in vitro embryo loss of stem cell research by appealing to the doctrine of double effect. I argue that this challenge fails to show that in vivo embryo loss is a mere unintended side effect while in (...)
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  6. Mindlessness.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - Cambridge Scholars Press.
    Thinking is overrated: golfers perform best when distracted and under pressure; firefighters make the right calls without a clue as to why; and you are yourself ill advised to look at your steps as you go down the stairs, or to try and remember your pin number before typing it in. Just do it, mindlessly. Both empirical psychologists and the common man have long worked out that thinking is often a bad idea, but philosophers still hang on to an intellectualist (...)
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  7. Fathers and Abortion.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (4):444-458.
    I argue that it is possible for prospective mothers to wrong prospective fathers by bearing their child; and that lifting paternal liability for child support does not correct the wrong inflicted to fathers. It is therefore sometimes wrong for prospective mothers to bear a child, or so I argue here. I show that my argument for considering the legitimate interests of prospective fathers is not a unique exception to an obvious right to procreate. It is, rather, part of a growing (...)
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  8. Sexual Rights and Disability.Ezio Di Nucci - 2011 - Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (3):158-161.
    I argue against Appel's recent proposal – in this JOURNAL – that there is a fundamental human right to sexual pleasure, and that therefore the sexual pleasure of severely disabled people should be publicly funded – by thereby partially legalizing prostitution. I propose an alternative that does not need to pose a new positive human right; does not need public funding; does not need the legalization of prostitution; and that would offer a better experience to the severely disabled: charitable non-profit (...)
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  9. Frankfurt Versus Frankfurt: A New Anti-Causalist Dawn.Ezio Di Nucci - 2011 - Philosophical Explorations 14 (1):117-131.
    In this paper I argue that there is an important anomaly to the causalist/compatibilist paradigm in the philosophy of action and free will. This anomaly, which to my knowledge has gone unnoticed so far, can be found in the philosophy of Harry Frankfurt. Two of his most important contributions to the field – his influential counterexample to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities and his ‘guidance’ view of action – are incompatible. The importance of this inconsistency goes far beyond the issue (...)
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  10. Action, Deviance, and Guidance.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - Abstracta (2):41-59.
    I argue that we should give up the fight to rescue causal theories of action from fundamental challenges such as the problem of deviant causal chains; and that we should rather pursue an account of action based on the basic intuition that control identifies agency. In Section 1 I introduce causalism about action explanation. In Section 2 I present an alternative, Frankfurt’s idea of guidance. In Section 3 I argue that the problem of deviant causal chains challenges causalism in two (...)
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    Should We Be Afraid of Medical AI?Ezio Di Nucci - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (8):556-558.
    I analyse an argument according to which medical artificial intelligence represents a threat to patient autonomy—recently put forward by Rosalind McDougall in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The argument takes the case of IBM Watson for Oncology to argue that such technologies risk disregarding the individual values and wishes of patients. I find three problems with this argument: it confuses AI with machine learning; it misses machine learning’s potential for personalised medicine through big data; it fails to distinguish between evidence-based (...)
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  12. Mind Out of Action: The Intentionality of Automatic Actions.Ezio Di Nucci - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
    We think less than we think. My thesis moves from this suspicion to show that standard accounts of intentional action can't explain the whole of agency. Causalist accounts such as Davidson's and Bratman's, according to which an action can be intentional only if it is caused by a particular mental state of the agent, don't work for every kind of action. So-called automatic actions, effortless performances over which the agent doesn't deliberate, and to which she doesn't need to pay attention, (...)
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  13. Double Effect and Terror Bombing.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - In T. Spitzley, M. Hoeltje & W. Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V. GAP.
    I argue against the Doctrine of Double Effect’s explanation of the moral difference between terror bombing and strategic bombing. I show that the standard thought-experiment of Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber which dominates this debate is underdetermined in three crucial respects: (1) the non-psychological worlds of Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber; (2) the psychologies of Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber; and (3) the structure of the thought-experiment, especially in relation to its similarity with the Trolley Problem. (1) If the two (...)
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  14. Aristotle and Double Effect.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - Journal of Ancient Philosophy 8 (1):20.
    There are some interesting similarities between Aristotle’s ‘mixed actions’ in Book III of the Nicomachean Ethics and the actions often thought to be justifiable with the Doctrine of Double Effect. Here I analyse these similarities by comparing Aristotle’s examples of mixed actions with standard cases from the literature on double effect such as, amongst others, strategic bombing, the trolley problem, and craniotomy. I find that, despite some common features such as the dilemmatic structure and the inevitability of a bad effect, (...)
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  15. Automatic Actions: Challenging Causalism.Ezio Di Nucci - 2011 - Rationality Markets and Morals 2 (1):179-200.
    I argue that so-called automatic actions – routine performances that we successfully and effortlessly complete without thinking such as turning a door handle, downshifting to 4th gear, or lighting up a cigarette – pose a challenge to causalism, because they do not appear to be preceded by the psychological states which, according to the causal theory of action, are necessary for intentional action. I argue that causalism cannot prove that agents are simply unaware of the relevant psychological states when they (...)
     
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  16. Habits, Nudges, and Consent.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics 13 (6):27 - 29.
    I distinguish between 'hard nudges' and 'soft nudges', arguing that it is possible to show that the latter can be compatible with informed consent - as Cohen has recently suggested; but that the real challenge is the compatibility of the former. Hard nudges are the more effective nudges because they work on less than conscious mechanisms such as those underlying our habits: whether those influences - which are often beyond the subject's awareness - can be reconciled with informed consent in (...)
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  17. Reproduktionstechnologien und Bionormative Familienkonzeptionen.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - In Handbuch Philosophie der Kindheit.
  18. Trolleys and Double Effect in Experimental Ethics.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - In Christoph Luetge, Hannes Rusch & Matthias Uhl (eds.), Experimental Ethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    I analyse the relationship between the Doctrine of Double Effect and the Trolley Problem: the former offers a solution for the latter only on the premise that killing the one in Bystander at the Switch is permissible. Here I offer both empirical and theoretical arguments against the permissibility of killing the one: firstly, I present data from my own empirical studies according to which the intuition that killing the one is permissible is neither widespread nor stable; secondly, I defend a (...)
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  19. Habits, Priming, Aliefs and the Explanation of Mindless Action.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - Minds and Machines:1-21.
    There is a growing body of evidence on the influences of automatic and unconscious processes on our actions. Here I introduce some representative examples of this growing body of evidence, chosen so as to form a diverse group of related mindless phenomena: habits, skills, priming and nudges (Section 1). I then argue that this evidence challenges traditional belief-desire-based approaches in the philosophy of action (Sections 2 and 3). I further discuss a recently proposed solution to this challenge, Gendler’s Alief, finding (...)
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  20. Sexual Rights, Disability and Sex Robots.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Sex Robots. MIT Press.
    I argue that the right to sexual satisfaction of severely physically and mentally disabled people and elderly people who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases can be fulfilled by deploying sex robots; this would enable us to satisfy the sexual needs of many who cannot provide for their own sexual satisfaction; without at the same time violating anybody’s right to sexual self-determination. I don’t offer a full-blown moral justification of deploying sex robots in such cases, as not all morally relevant concerns can (...)
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  21. Killing Fetuses and Killing Newborns.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5):19-20.
    The argument for the moral permissibility of killing newborns is a challenge to liberal positions on abortion because it can be considered a reductio of their defence of abortion. Here I defend the liberal stance on abortion by arguing that the argument for the moral permissibility of killing newborns on ground of the social, psychological and economic burden on the parents recently put forward by Giubilini and Minerva is not valid; this is because they fail to show that newborns cannot (...)
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  22. IVF, Same-Sex Couples and the Value of Biological Ties.Ezio Di Nucci - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (12):784-787.
    Ought parents, in general, to value being biologically tied to their children? Is it important, in particular, that both parents be biologically tied to their children? I will address these fundamental questions by looking at a fairly new practice within IVF treatments, so-called IVF-with-ROPA ( Reception of Oocytes from Partner ), which allows lesbian couples to „share motherhood‟ with one partner providing the eggs while the other becomes pregnant. I believe that IVF-with-ROPA is, just like other IVF treatments, morally permissible; (...)
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  23. Contraception and Double Effect.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - American Journal of Bioethics 14 (7):42-43.
  24. I Love My Children: Am I Racist? On the Wish to Be Biologically Related to One’s Children.Ezio Di Nucci - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (12):814-816.
    Is the wish to be biologically related to your children legitimate? Here, I respond to an argument in support of a negative answer to this question according to which a preference towards having children one is biologically related to is analogous to a preference towards associating with members of one’s own race. I reject this analogy, mainly on the grounds that only the latter constitutes discrimination; still, I conclude that indeed a preference towards children one is biologically related to is (...)
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  25. Refuting a Frankfurtian Objection to Frankfurt-Type Counterexamples.Ezio Di Nucci - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (2):207 - 213.
    In this paper I refute an apparently obvious objection to Frankfurt-type counterexamples to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities according to which if in the counterfactual scenario the agent does not act, then the agent could have avoided acting in the actual scenario. And because what happens in the counterfactual scenario cannot count as the relevant agent's actions given the sort of external control that agent is under, then we can ground responsibility on that agent having been able to avoid acting. (...)
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  26. Drones and Responsibility: Legal, Philosophical and Socio-Technical Perspectives on the Use of Remotely Controlled Weapons.Ezio Di Nucci & Filippo Santoni de Sio (eds.) - 2016 - Routledge.
  27. Withdrawing Artificial Nutrition and Patients' Interests.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (9):555-556.
    I argue that the arguments brought by Counsel for M to the English Court of Protection are morally problematic in prioritising subjective interests that are the result of ‘consistent autonomous thought’ over subjective interests that are the result of a more limited cognitive perspective.
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    Concordance as Evidence in the Watson for Oncology Decision-Support System.Aaro Tupasela & Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - AI and Society:1-8.
    Machine learning platforms have emerged as a new promissory technology that some argue will revolutionize work practices across a broad range of professions, including medical care. During the past few years, IBM has been testing its Watson for Oncology platform at several oncology departments around the world. Published reports, news stories, as well as our own empirical research show that in some cases, the levels of concordance over recommended treatment protocols between the platform and human oncologists have been quite low. (...)
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  29. On How to Interpret the Role of the Future Within the Abortion Debate.Ezio Di Nucci - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (10):651-652.
    In a previous paper, I had argued that Strong’s counterexamples to Marquis’s argument against abortion—according to which terminating fetuses is wrong because it deprives them of a valuable future—fail either because they have no bearing on Marquis’s argument or because they make unacceptable claims about what constitutes a valuable future. In this paper I respond to Strong’s criticism of my argument according to which I fail to acknowledge that Marquis uses "future like ours" and "valuable future" interchangeably. I show that (...)
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  30. Who’s Afraid of Robots? Fear of Automation and the Ideal of Direct Control.Ezio Di Nucci & Filippo Santoni de Sio - 2014 - In Fiorella Battaglia & Natalie Weidenfeld (eds.), Roboethics in Film. Pisa University Press.
    We argue that lack of direct and conscious control is not, in principle, a reason to be afraid of machines in general and robots in particular: in order to articulate the ethical and political risks of increasing automation one must, therefore, tackle the difficult task of precisely delineating the theoretical and practical limits of sustainable delegation to robots.
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  31. Broadening the Future of Value Account of the Wrongness of Killing.Ezio Di Nucci - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (4):587-590.
    On Don Marquis’s future of value account of the wrongness of killing, ‘what makes it wrong to kill those individuals we all believe it is wrong to kill, is that killing them deprives them of their future of value’. Marquis has recently argued for a narrow interpretation of his future of value account of the wrongness of killing and against the broad interpretation that I had put forward in response to Carson Strong. In this article I argue that the narrow (...)
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  32. Retracted Article: Strategic Bombing, Causal Beliefs, and Double Effect.Ezio Di Nucci - 2016 - Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (2):385-394.
    I argue against the Doctrine of Double Effect’s explanation of the moral difference between terror bombing and strategic bombing. I show that the standard thought-experiment of terror bombing and strategic bombing which dominates this debate is underdetermined with regards to the agents’ psychologies: (a) if Terror Bomber and Strategic Bomber have the same causal beliefs, then why does Terror Bomber set out to kill the children? It may then be this unwarranted and immoral choice and not the Doctrine of Double (...)
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  33. Eight Arguments Against Double Effect.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - In Proceedings of the XXIII. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Philosophie.
    I offer eight arguments against the Doctrine of Double Effect, a normative principle according to which in pursuing the good it is sometimes morally permissible to bring about some evil as a side-effect or merely foreseen consequence: the same evil would not be morally justified as an intended means or end.
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  34. Avoiding and Alternate Possibilities.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):1001-1007.
    Greg Janzen has recently criticised my defence of Frankfurt’s counterexample to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities by arguing that Jones avoids killing Smith in the counterfactual scenario. Janzen’s argument consists in introducing a new thought-experiment which is supposed to be analogous to Frankfurt’s and where the agent is supposed to avoid A-ing. Here I argue that Janzen’s argument fails on two counts, because his new scenario is not analogous to Frankfurt’s and because the agent in his new scenario does not (...)
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  35. Abortion: Strong's Counterexamples Fail.Ezio Di Nucci - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):304-305.
    This paper shows that the counterexamples proposed by Strong in 2008 in the Journal of Medical Ethics to Marquis’s argument against abortion fail. Strong’s basic idea is that there are cases — for example, terminally ill patients — where killing an adult human being is prima facie seriously morally wrong even though that human being is not being deprived of a "valuable future". So Marquis would be wrong in thinking that what is essential about the wrongness of killing an adult (...)
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  36. Drones and the Threshold for Waging War.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - Politik.
    I argue that, if drones make waging war easier, the reason why they do so may not be the one commonly assumed within the philosophical debate – namely the promised reduction in casualties on either side – but a more complicated one which has little to do with concern for one’s own soldiers or, for that matter, the enemy; and a lot more to do with the political intricacies of international relations and domestic politics; I use the example of the (...)
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  37.  10
    Paper: Sexual Rights and Disability.Ezio Di Nucci - 2011 - Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (3):158-161.
    This paper argues against Appel's recent proposal—in this journal—that there is a fundamental human right to sexual pleasure, and that therefore the sexual pleasure of severely disabled people should be publicly funded—by thereby partially legalising prostitution. An alternative is proposed that does not need to pose a new positive human right; does not need public funding; does not need the legalisation of prostitution; and that would offer a better experience to the severely disabled: charitable non-profit organisations whose members would voluntarily (...)
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  38. Consent Ain’T Anything: Dissent, Access and the Conditions for Consent.Ezio Di Nucci - 2016 - Monash Bioethics Review 34 (1):3-22.
    I argue against various versions of the ‘attitude’ view of consent and of the ‘action’ view of consent: I show that neither an attitude nor an action is either necessary or sufficient for consent. I then put forward a different view of consent based on the idea that, given a legitimate epistemic context, absence of dissent is sufficient for consent: what is crucial is having access to dissent. In the latter part of the paper I illustrate my view of consent (...)
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  39. Besser ist besser? Enhancement der Moral aus einer handlungstheoretischen Perspektive.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - In Raphael van Riel, Ezio Di Nucci & Jan Schildmann (eds.), Enhancement der Moral. Mentis. pp. Kapitel 4.
    Enhancement ist eine tolle Sache: dieser Begriff ist notwendigerweise positiv (ein bisschen wie der traditionelle Gottbegriff), so dass wenn eine Änderung keine richtige Verbesserung hervorbringt, es auch kein richtiges Enhancement gewesen ist: sehr praktisch. Wie könnte man unter diesen Umständen überhaupt gegen Enhancement sein? Beim Enhancement geht es nicht mal um das plausible aber nicht unumstrittene „mehr ist besser“; vielmehr geht es um das tautologische „besser ist besser“.
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  40.  30
    Wall Ethics?Ezio Di Nucci - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):1-2.
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  41. Knowing Future Contingents.Ezio Di Nucci - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (1):43-50.
    This paper argues that we know the future by applying a recent solution of the problem of future contingents to knowledge attributions about the future. MacFarlane has put forward a version of assessment-context relativism that enables us to assign a truth value 'true' (or 'false') to future contingents such as There Will Be A Sea Battle Tomorrow. Here I argue that the same solution can be applied to knowledge attributions about the future by dismissing three disanalogies between the case of (...)
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  42.  19
    Retracted Article: Habits, Priming and the Explanation of Mindless Action.Ezio Di Nucci - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (4):795-795.
  43.  37
    Strategic Bombing, Causal Beliefs, and Double Effect.Ezio Di Nucci - 2016 - Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (2):385-394.
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    Retraction Note To: Strategic Bombing, Causal Beliefs, and Double Effect.Ezio Di Nucci - 2017 - Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (2):361-361.
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    Sexual Rights Puzzle: Re-Solved?Ezio Di Nucci - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5):337-338.
    My sexual rights puzzle according to which positive sexual rights are not compatible with negative sexual rights has been recently criticised in the Journal of Medical Ethics by Steven J Firth, who has put forward three objections to the puzzle. In this brief response, I analyse and reject each of these three objections.
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    Analysing the Wrongness of Killing.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - Public Reason 6 (1-2).
    This article provides an in-depth analysis of the wrongness of killing by comparing different versions of three influential views: the traditional view that killing is always wrong; the liberal view that killing is wrong if and only if the victim does not want to be killed; and Don Marquis’ future of value account of the wrongness of killing. In particular, I illustrate the advantages that a basic version of the liberal view and a basic version of the future of value (...)
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    Pushing the Margins of Responsibility: Lessons From Parks’ Somnambulistic Killing.Filippo Santoni de Sio & Ezio Di Nucci - 2018 - Neuroethics 11 (1):35-46.
    David Shoemaker has claimed that a binary approach to moral responsibility leaves out something important, namely instances of marginal agency, cases where agents seem to be eligible for some responsibility responses but not others. In this paper we endorse and extend Shoemaker’s approach by presenting and discussing one more case of marginal agency not yet covered by Shoemaker or in the other literature on moral responsibility. Our case is that of Kenneth Parks, a Canadian man who drove a long way (...)
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  48.  1
    Sex: We Can’T Have It Both Ways.Ezio Di Nucci - 2019 - Monash Bioethics Review 37 (1-2):38-45.
    I analyse the tension between a plausible liberal view of sex work and the similarly plausible idea that rape and other forms of sexual violence are made morally worse by their sexual nature. I find no conclusive reason to drop the liberal view of sex work, at least as long as the concept of voluntary and informed consent at the core of it is robust enough to account for the realities of prostitution around the world; nor should we abandon the (...)
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  49. 1984 and Philosophy, is Resistance Futile?Ezio Di Nucci & Stefan Storrie (eds.) - 2018 - Open Court.
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  50. Content, Consciousness, and Perception: Essays in Contemporary Philosophy of Mind.Ezio Di Nucci & Conor McHugh (eds.) - 2006 - Cambridge Scholars Press.
    What sort of thing is the mind? And how can such a thing at the same time - belong to the natural world, - represent the world, - give rise to our subjective experience, - and ground human knowledge? Content, Consciousness and Perception is an edited collection, comprising eleven new contributions to the philosophy of mind, written by some of the most promising young philosophers in the UK and Ireland. The book is arranged into three parts. Part I, Concepts and (...)
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