Why is death bad for us, even on the assumption that it involves the absence of experience? Whom should we save from death if we cannot save everyone? Kamm considers these questions, critically examining some answers other philosophers have given. She also examines specifically what differences between persons are relevant to the distribution of any scarce resources, e.g. bodily organs for transplantation.
This volume continues the examination of issues of life and death which F.M. Kamm began in Morality, Mortality, Volume I. Kamm continues her development of a non-consequentialist ethical theory and its application to practical ethical problems. She looks at the distinction between killing and letting die, and between intending and foreseeing, and also at the concepts of rights, prerogatives, and supererogation. She shows that a sophisticated non-consequentialist theory can be modelled which copes convincingly with practical ethical issues, and throws considerable (...) light on some of the key distinctions and concepts of ethical discourse. (shrink)
Bioethical Prescriptions collects F.M. Kamm's articles on bioethics -- revised for publication in book form -- which have appeared over the last 25 years and which have made her among the most widely-respected philosophers working in this field.
Based on a non-consequentialist ethical theory, this book critically examines the prevalent view that if a fetus has the moral standing of a person, it has a right to life and abortion is impermissible. Most discussion of abortion has assumed that this view is correct, and so has focused on the question of the personhood of the fetus. Kamm begins by considering in detail the permissibility of killing in non-abortion cases which are similar to abortion cases. She goes on to (...) consider the case for the permissibility of abortion in many types of pregnancies, including ones resulting from rape, voluntary pregnancy, and pregnancy resulting from a voluntary sex act, even if the fetus is considered a person. This argument emerges as part of a broader theory of creating new people responsibly. Kamm explores the implications of this argument for informed consent to abortion; responsibilities in pregnancy that is not aborted, and the significance of extra-uterine gestation devices for the permissibility of abortion. (shrink)
Ethics for Enemies comprises three original philosophical essays on torture, terrorism, and war. F. M. Kamm deploys ethical theory in her challenging new treatments of these most controversial practical issues. First she considers the nature of torture and the various occasions on which it could occur, in order to determine why it might be wrong to torture a wrongdoer held captive, even if this were necessary to save his victims. In the second essay she considers what makes terrorism wrong--whether it (...) is the intention to harm civilians, rather than harm to them being 'collateral damage,' or something else--and whether terrorism is always wrong. The third essay discusses whether having a right reason, in the sense of a right intention, is necessary in order for a war to be just. Kamm then examines ways in which the harms of war can be proportional to the achievement of the just cause and other goods that war can bring about, so as to make the declaration of war permissible. (shrink)
I begin by reconsidering the arguments of John Taurek and Elizabeth Anscombe on whether the number of people we can help counts morally. I then consider arguments that numbers should count given by F. M. Kamm and Thomas Scanlon, and criticism of them by Michael Otsuka. I examine how different conceptions of the moral method known as pairwise comparison are at work in these different arguments and what the ideas of balancing and tie-breaking signify for decision-making in various types of (...) cases. I conclude by considering how another moral method that I call virtual divisibility functions and what it helps reveal about an argument by Otsuka against those who do not think numbers count. (shrink)
The Moral Target: Aiming at Right Conduct in War and Other Conflicts comprises essays that discuss aspects of war and other conflicts in the light of nonconsequentialist ethical theory. Topics include the relation between conditions that justify starting war and those that justify stopping it, the treatment of combatants and noncombatants in war, collaboration, justice after war and other conflicts, terrorism, resistance to communal injustice, and nuclear deterrence.
This article begins by comparing terror and death and then focuses on whether killing combatants and noncombatants as a mere means to create terror, that is in turn a means to winning a war, is ever permissible. The role of intentions and alternative acts one might have done is examined in this regard. The second part of the article begins by criticizing a standard justification for causing collateral (side effect) deaths in war and offers an alternative justification that makes use (...) of the idea of group liability. (shrink)
In this essay, I shall discuss ethical issues that arise with our increasing ability to affect the genetic makeup of the human population. These effects can be produced directly by altering the genotype , or indirectly by aborting, not conceiving, or treating individuals because of their genetic makeup in ways made possible by genetic pharmacology. I shall refer to all of these sorts of procedures collectively as the Procedures. Some of the ethical issues the Procedures raise are old, arising quite (...) generally when we can affect the well-being of people, even in the absence of the ability to affect them in the ways just described. My examination of these issues is prompted by the recent at-length discussion of them, From Chance to Choice , by Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, Norman Daniels, and Daniel Wikler. (shrink)
Peter Unger’s book has both substantive and methodological aims. Substantively, it aims to prove the following four claims in the following order: we must, in general, suffer great losses of property to prevent suffering and death; we may, in general, impose such losses on others for the same goals; we may, in general, kill others to prevent more deaths; and we must, in general, kill ourself to prevent more deaths. Methodologically, it aims to show that intuitive judgments about cases that (...) would be presented as evidence against the four substantive claims—the standard technique of nonconsequentialists arguing against consequentialists—are worthless because we can construct cases that generate the opposite intuitive judgment; further, we can show that the factors that distinguish the cases yielding such different intuitions are not morally significant; and hence, we must decide which judgments are correct by consulting such general moral values as the importance of reducing suffering and death. Thus, Unger offers an error theory of nonconsequentialist restrictions on harming others and prerogatives not to make large sacrifices to aid. This error theory is based on the psychological effects of morally insignificant factors. (shrink)
In this article, I shall present three arguments for thc pcrmissibility 0f physician-assisted suicide (PAS), and then examine several objections 0f 21 "K21nti2m" and non-Kantian nature against them. These are really 0bjcctions against certain types of suicide. I shall focus 0n active PAS (eg., when 21 patient takes 21 lethal drug given by E1 physician, in which case both thc physician and patient are active). I shall assume the patient is 21 competent, responsible, rational agent, who gives his being in (...) physical discomfort (pain, nausea, ctc.) as thc reason for intending his death. I am assuming, therefore, thc pain while 21 sourcc of suffering docs not undermine his rational agency in 21 way that threatens responsibility for choice.] Current legal proposals for permitting PAS focus 0n procedures.. (shrink)
Some of the commentators on Intricate Ethics complain of my method. One finds the main ideas ‘Kammouflaged’ because the relevant causal distinctions are so fine-grained and the cases that illustrate them so numerous . Some say that they do not have the intuitions about many cases that I have, that I concoct dubious and ad hoc distinctions and invest them with moral significance; I am Ptolemaic in that new crystalline spheres and epicycles are constantly being added in an attempt to (...) fix the appearances. (shrink)
In the first part of this article, I argue that even those entities that in their own right and for their own sake give us reason not to destroy them and to help them are sometimes substitutable for the good of other entities. In so arguing, I consider the idea of being valuable as an end in virtue of intrinsic and extrinsic properties. I also conclude that entities that have claims to things and against others are especially nonsubstitutable. In the (...) second part, I argue that cloning poses no threat to the nonsubstitutability of these entities (and in this sense, to the dignity of persons). I also consider the relation between cloning and (what I called) holistic identity, and between the latter and genetic identity. In the concluding part of the article, I try to distinguish cases where identity over time and so-called person-affecting acts have and do not have greater moral significance than nonidentity over time and nonperson-affecting acts. I try to apply my results to cases involving embryos, future generations, and to the so-called Non-Identity Problem. (shrink)
In the first part of this article, I raisequestions about Dworkin''s theory of theintrinsic value of life and about the adequacyof his proposal to understand abortion in termsof different ways of valuing life. In thesecond part of the article, I consider hisargument in ``The Philosophers'' Brief on AssistedSuicide'''', which claims that the distinctionbetween killing and letting die is morallyirrelevant, the distinction between intendingand foreseeing death can be morally relevantbut is not always so. I argue that thekilling/letting die distinction can be (...) relevantin the context of assisted suicide, but alsoshow when it is not. Then I consider why theintention/foresight distinction can be morallyirrelevant and conclude by presenting analternative argument for physician-assistedsuicide. (shrink)
Some of the commentators on Intricate Ethics complain of my method. One finds the main ideas ‘Kammouflaged’ because the relevant causal distinctions are so fine-grained and the cases that illustrate them so numerous. Some say that they do not have the intuitions about many cases that I have, that I concoct dubious and ad hoc distinctions and invest them with moral significance; I am Ptolemaic in that new crystalline spheres and epicycles are constantly being added in an attempt to fix (...) the appearances. (shrink)
In the first part of this article, I raise questions about Dworkin's theory of the intrinsic value of life and about the adequacy of his proposal to understand abortion in terms of different ways of valuing life. In the second part of the article, I consider his argument in "The Philosophers' Brief on Assisted Suicide", which claims that the distinction between killing and letting die is morally irrelevant, the distinction between intending and foreseeing death can be morally relevant but is (...) not always so. I argue that the killing/letting die distinction can be relevant in the context of assisted suicide, but also show when it is not. Then I consider why the intention/foresight distinction can be morally irrelevant and conclude by presenting an alternative argument for physician-assisted suicide. (shrink)
This book is a philosophical discussion of moral, legal, and medical issues related to aging, dying, and death. One of its aims is to decide whether and when it might make sense to not resist or bring about the end of one's life. To answer this question it considers views about meaning in life and what makes life worth living. It also evaluates recent attempts to help the general public plan in advance for the end of life. It also considers (...) whether or not physician-assisted suicide is morally permissible and if it should be legalized. (shrink)