In The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that only a form of philosophizing that sprung from a deep commitment to the subject could ever hope for success. ‘All great problems,’ he wrote, ‘demand great love.’ He continued: It makes the most telling difference whether a thinker has a personal relationship to his problems and finds in them his destiny, his distress, and his greatest happiness, or an ‘impersonal’ one, meaning he is only able to touch them with the antennae of (...) cold, curious thought. In the latter case nothing will come of it, that much can be promised; for even if great problems should let themselves be grasped by them, they would not allow frogs and weaklings to hold on to them. Nietzsche went on to complain that, to his knowledge, no one had yet approached moral philosophy in this way: Why, then, have I never yet encountered anyone, not even in books, who approached morality in this personal way and who knew morality as a problem, and this problem as his own personal distress, torment, voluptuousness, and passion? Alex Voorhoeve run01.tex V1 - 07/29/2009 7:23am Page 16.. (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 this article, I critically examine Peter Unger's arguments for the claim that there is a duty to cause physical harm to oneself and others in order to save lives. This includes discussion of his view that when the method of cases involves several rather than merely two options our intuitive judgements support his radical thesis. In conclusion, I consider his attempt to reconcile his claims with common sense moral judgements.
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)
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)
"Reading F.M. Kamm's latest book is like watching a brilliant astronomer map an uncharted galaxy--the meticulousness and the display of mental stamina must inspire awe. There is a kind of beauty in the performance alone. Intricate Ethics is a major event in normative ethical theory by a living master of the subject.... In the end, professional moral philosophers cannot reasonably ignore Intricate Ethics.... Kamm continues to prove herself the most imaginative, detail-oriented deontologist writing in English today... Professor (...) class='Hi'>Kamm is in a class by herself."--Jeffrey Brand-Ballard, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "The operative word in this masterful work is 'intricate.' Watching Kamm's mind dissect and reconstruct different cases is like watching a juggler, riding a unicycle, carrying on a conversation, while getting dressed. It is a glorious celebration of what moral philosophy does best, and what one of its most gifted practitioners can do to enlighten our understanding of the most pressing ethical issues of our time. But it is also a rich playground for empirically minded philosophers and psychologists who want to play with the clever class of dilemmas that Kamm has created, dilemmas that will both amuse and torture generations of people."--Marc Hauser is a Harvard College Professor and author of "Moral Minds" "Frances Kamm once again proves herself to be an astonishingly subtle and creative defender of a deontological outlook. Anyone at all interested in normative ethics will find something of value in Intricate Ethics. There are striking and original views on a wide range of topics. And no one--absolutely no one--compares to Kamm when it comes to constructing relevant test cases and carefully assessing our intuitive reactions to them. This is a master at work, at the height of her powers."--Shelly Kagan, Clark Professor of Philosophy, Yale University "Intricate Ethics fully justifies its title. It is as deep, subtle, imaginative, and analytically rigorous as any work in moral philosophy written in a great many years. It is dense with highly original and fertile ideas supported by powerful and ingenious arguments. This book amply confirms Frances Kamm's standing as one of the greatest living philosophers.--Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University "Kamm's virtuosity in hypothesizing cases in defense or refutation of moral principles remains unsurpassed. Intricate Ethics is also a testament to the fruitfulness of this rarefied method of ethics. One might have thought that, having already devoted several hundred path-breaking pages to the topic of nonconsequentialism in her earlier two-volume Morality, Mortality, it would have been impossible to break much new ground in this sequel. Yet what Kamm has to say here on the topics of harming and saving from harm is as novel, arresting, and insightful as ever."--Michael Otsuka, Professor of Philosophy, University College London "Kamm...is the most sophisticated of the contemporary exponents of "intuitionist" or "nonconsequentialist" ethics...No one else makes such extraordinarily meticulous and penetrating attempts to extract the principles behind our ordinary moral intuitions...I highly recommend it as an inclusive and subtle attempt to work out nonconsequentialism on an intuitionist basis. As a bonus, Intricate Ethics also offers searching analyses of the work of Peter Unger, Peter Singer, Bernard Gert, T.M. Scanlon, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky."--Ingmar Persson, Times Literary Supplement. (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)
Can we ever truly answer the question, “Who am I?” Moderated by Alex Voorhoeve (London School of Economics), neuro-philosopher Elie During (University of Paris, Ouest Nanterre), cognitive scientist David Jopling (York University, Canada), social psychologist Timothy Wilson (University of Virginia),and ethicist Frances Kamm (Harvard University) examine the difficulty of achieving genuine self-knowledge and how the pursuit of self-knowledge plays a role in shaping the self.
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)
Frances Kamm sets out to draw and make plausible distinctions that would show how and why it is, in some circumstances, permissible to kill some to save many more, but is not so in others. To do so she draws on a famous, and famously artificial, example of Judith Thomson, which illustrates the fact that people intutitively reject some instances of such killings but not others. The irrationality, implausibility and in many cases the self-defeating nature of such distinctions I (...) had attempted to expose in my 'The Survival Lottery' over 25 years ago. I still think these distinctions irrational and implausible and I will try, in this response, to show why this remains the case and why doctrines of additional effects, to however many powers they are taken, remain unhelpful in ethics. (shrink)
This article examines arguments concerning enhancement of human persons recently presented by Michael Sandel (2004). In the first section, I briefly describe some of his arguments. In section two, I consider whether, as Sandel claims, the desire for mastery motivates enhancement and whether such a desire could be grounds for its impermissibility. Section three considers how Sandel draws the distinction between treatment and enhancement, and the relation to nature that he thinks each expresses. The fourth section examines Sandel's views about (...) parent/child relations and also how enhancement would affect distributive justice and the duty to aid. In conclusion, I briefly offer an alternative suggestion as to why enhancement may be troubling and consider what we could safely enhance. (shrink)
In this article I am concerned with whether it could be morally significant to distinguish between doing something 'in order to bring about an effect' as opposed to 'doing something because we will bring about an effect'. For example, the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) tells us that we should not act in order to bring about evil, but even if this is true is it perhaps permissible to act only because an evil will thus occur? I discuss these questions (...) in connection with a version of the so-called Trolley Problem known as the Loop Case. I also consider how these questions may bear on whether a rational agent must aim at an event which he believes is causally necessary to achieve an end he pursues. (shrink)
This article considers some different views of fairness and whether they conflict with the use of a version of Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) that calls for maximizing health benefits per dollar spent. Among the concerns addressed are whether this version of CEA ignores the concerns of the worst off and inappropriately aggregates small benefits to many people. I critically examine the views of Daniel Hausman and Peter Singer who defend this version of CEA and Eric Nord among others who criticize (...) it. I come to focus in particular on the use of CEA in allocating scarce resources to the disabled. (shrink)
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)
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)
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.
The Doctrine of Double Effect and the Principle of Do No Harm raise important theoretical and practical issues, some of which are discussed by Boyle, Donagan, and Quinn. I argue that neither principle is correct, and some revisionist, and probably nonabsolutist, analysis of constraints on action and omission is necessary. In making these points, I examine several approaches to deflection of threat cases, discuss an argument for the permissibility of voluntary euthanasia, and present arguments relevant to medical contexts which justify (...) intentionally hanning some to aid others, with and without the consent of those harmed. Keywords: consent, double effect, euthanasia, harming, organ transplantation, scarce resources, trolley problem CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)