The Ethics of War and Peace is a lively introduction to one of the oldest but still most relevant ethical debates. Focusing on the philosophical questions surrounding the ethics of modern war, HelenFrowe presents contemporary just war theory in a stimulating and accessible way. This 2nd edition includes new material on weapons and technology, and humanitarian intervention, in addition to: theories of self-defence and national defence jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum the moral (...) status of combatants the principle of non-combatant immunity and the nature of terrorism and the moral status of terrorists. Each chapter uses examples and concludes with a summary, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading to aid student engagement, learning and revision. The glossary has been expanded to cover the full range of relevant terminology. This is the ideal textbook for students of philosophy and politics approaching this important area for the first time. (shrink)
Most people believe that it is sometimes morally permissible for a person to use force to defend herself or others against harm. In Defensive Killing, HelenFrowe offers a detailed exploration of when and why the use of such force is permissible. She begins by considering the use of force between individuals, investigating both the circumstances under which an attacker forfeits her right not to be harmed, and the distinct question of when it is all-things-considered permissible to use (...) force against an attacker. Frowe then extends this enquiry to war, defending the view that we should judge the ethics of killing in war by the moral rules that govern killing between individuals. She argues that this requires us to significantly revise our understanding of the moral status of non-combatants in war. Non-combatants who intentionally contribute to an unjust war forfeit their rights not to be harmed, such that they are morally liable to attack by combatants fighting a just war. (shrink)
I argue that any successful account of permissible self- defence must be action-guiding, or practical . It must be able to inform people’s deliberation about what they are permitted to do when faced with an apparent threat to their lives. I argue that this forces us to accept that a person can be permitted to use self-defence against Apparent Threats: characters whom a person reasonably, but mistakenly, believes threaten her life. I defend a hybrid account of self-defence that prioritises an (...) agent’s subjective perspective. I argue that it is sufficient to render the use of defence permissible if an agent reasonably believes that (a) she is morally innocent, and (b) if she does not kill this person, then they will kill her. I argue that the correct account of self-defence must distinguish between whether an agent is permitted to inflict harm, and whether the target is liable to bear that harm. (shrink)
Much philosophical attention has been paid to the question of whether, and why, one may divert a runaway trolley away from where it will kill five people to where it will kill one. But little attention has been paid to whether the reasons that ground a permission to divert thereby ground a duty to divert. This paper defends the Requirement Thesis, which holds that one is, ordinarily, required to act on lesser-evil justifications for harming for the sake of others. Cases (...) in which we have lesser-evil justifications of harming for the sake of others are rescue cases. Ordinarily, an agent is under a duty to rescue unless doing so imposes too great a cost on her, or violates someone else's rights. When neither of these defeating conditions obtain, one is required to rescue even if this involves causing harm to innocent people. (shrink)
abstract Michael Otsuka claims that it is impermissible to kill innocent threats because doing so is morally equivalent to killing bystanders. I show that Otsuka's argument conflates killing as a means with treating a person herself as a means. The killing of a person can be a means only if that person is instrumental in the threat to Victim's life. A permission to kill a person as a means will not permit killing bystanders. I also defend a permission to kill (...) innocent threats against Otsuka's Trolley Cases. Otsuka depicts a person tied to an oncoming trolley as a bystander. I argue that such characters are threats whom Victim can permissibly kill. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the widespread view that obstructors are a special sort of bystander is mistaken. Obstructors make Victim worse off by their presence, and thus are more properly described as innocent threats. Only those characters who do not make Victim worse off by their presence can be classified as bystanders.
The reductivist view of war holds that the moral rules of killing in war can be reduced to the moral rules that govern killing between individuals. Noam Zohar objects to reductivism on the grounds that the account of individual self-defence that best supports the rules of war will inadvertently sanction terrorist killings of non-combatants. I argue that even an extended account of self-defence—that is, an account that permits killing at least some innocent people to save one's own life—can support a (...) prohibition on terrorism, provided that it distinguishes between direct and indirect threats. What such an account cannot support is the blanket immunity of non-combatants to defensive killing. If a non-combatant is morally responsible for indirectly threatening in an unjust war, she can be liable to defensive killing. However, this gives us reason to revise our account of permissible killing in war, rather than to reject the reductivist account. (shrink)
How We Fight: Ethics in War contains ten groundbreaking essays by some of the leading philosophers of war. The essays offer new perspectives on key debates including pacifism, punitive justifications for war, the distribution of risk between combatants and non-combatants, the structure of 'just war theory', and bases of individual liability in war.
Introduction This paper defends the moral significance of the distinction between killing and letting die. In the first part of the paper, I consider and reject Michael Tooley’s argument that initiating a causal process is morally equivalent to refraining from interfering in that process. The second part disputes Tooley’s suggestion it is merely external factors that make killing appear to be worse than letting die, when in reality the distinction is morally neutral. Tooley is mistaken to claim that we are (...) permitted to kill bystanders who had no fair chance to avoid being at risk of harm. We can support the significance of the killing / letting die distinction by considering the difference between what we are permitted to do in self-defence against those who are going to kill us, and what we can do against those who are going to let us die. I also suggest that we are less responsible for the deaths we allow than for the deaths that we cause, since we do not make people worse off for our presence in cases where we fail to save them. (shrink)
The principle of non-combatant immunity holds that it is impermissible to intentionally target non-combatants in war, even if they belong to the ‘unjust side’ of a war. This principle is traditionally defended by the claim that non-combatants are materially innocent: that, unlike combatants, non-combatants do not threaten. But this view is prima facie implausible. Non-combatants often contribute to their country’s war effort. More recent defences of the PNI therefore seek to show that a non-combatant is not liable to be killed (...) even if she contributes to her country’s war effort. This... (shrink)
This collection of essays is presented as offering the first real philosophical and legal treatment of the Principle of Non-Combatant Immunity . Primoratz's own essay serves as a useful summary of some of the most influential attempts to rule in all, but only, combatants as legitimate military targets. However, this will feel like very familiar territory to those already working in Just War Theory, as will Uwe Steinhoff's essay, which surveys the same positions . Several of the essays are expositional (...) rather than analytical in nature, tracing the historical roots of the PNI. Whilst providing an undeniably interesting journey through early Just War thought, these parts of the volume might feel less than gripping to those looking for engaging philosophical argument.However, the collection is certainly not without such argument. Seamus Miller's essay offers a thorough and thought-provoking account of why certain groups of civilians should not be granted immunity from military force. Using the model of the forced …. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between a person's claim right not to be harmed and the duties this claim confers on others. I argue that we should reject Jonathan Quong's evidence-based account of this relationship, which holds that an agent A's possession of a claim against B is partly determined by whether it would be reasonable for A to demand B's compliance with a correlative duty. When B's evidence is that demanding compliance would not be reasonable, A cannot have a (...) claim against B. I suggest that some of the putatively problematic cases that Quong identifies can be resolved by plausibly narrowing the scope of the right not to be harmed. I also argue that Quong's view leads to implausible conclusions, and that his account of what happens to A's claim in the face of lesser-evil justifications is inconsistent with his broader view. I then defend the view that agents are required, and not merely permitted, to act on lesser-evil justifications. I further argue that A may not defend herself against the infliction of harms that are justified on lesser-evil grounds. However, she may defend herself in cases where B is only evidentially, and not objectively, justified in harming her. (shrink)
HelenFrowe has recently offered what she calls a “practical” account of self-defense. Her account is supposed to be practical by being subjectivist about permissibility and objectivist about liability. I shall argue here that Frowe first makes up a problem that does not exist and then fails to solve it. To wit, her claim that objectivist accounts of permissibility cannot be action-guiding is wrong; and her own account of permissibility actually retains an objectivist (in the relevant sense) (...) element. In addition, her attempt to restrict subjectivism primarily to “urgent” situations like self-defense contradicts her own point of departure and is either incoherent or futile. Finally, the only actual whole-heartedly objectivist account she criticizes is an easy target; while those objectivist accounts one finds in certain Western European jurisdictions are immune to her criticisms. Those accounts are also clearly superior to hers in terms of action-guidingness. (shrink)
Even among those who find lethal defense against non-responsible threats, innocent aggressors, or justified aggressors justified even in one to one cases, there is a debate as to what the best explanation of this permissibility is. The contenders in this debate are the liability account, which holds that the non-responsible or justified human targets of the defensive measures are liable to attack, and the justified infringement account, which claims that the targets retain their right not to be attacked but may (...) be attacked anyway, even in one to one situations. Given that we normally think that rights are trumps, this latter claim is counter-intuitive and rather surprising, and therefore in need of justification and explanation. So far only Jonathan Quong has actually tried to provide an explanation; however, I will argue that his explanation fails and that Quong’s own account of liability is misguided. I then address HelenFrowe’s critique of the liability account. She makes the important concession that the tactical bomber has to compensate his victims, but she tries to block the conclusion that he must therefore be liable. I will demonstrate that her attempt to explain away liability fails once that concession is made. (shrink)
HelenFrowe has recently objected to Michael Tooley’s famous Moral Symmetry Principle, which is meant to show that in themselves killing and letting die are morally equivalent. I argue that her objection is not compelling but a more compelling objection is available. Specifically, Tooley’s rebuttal of a proposed counter-example to his Moral Symmetry Principle has two problematic implications. First, it undercuts the very principle itself. If we reject the proposed counter-example, then any instance of the Moral Symmetry Principle (...) will actually demonstrate the moral in-equivalence of killing and letting die. Second, it commits us to the view, which Tooley wishes to avoid, that we are just as obligated to refrain from doing wrong as we are to prevent others from doing the same. I conclude with a brief discussion of a more general concern regarding Tooley’s basic strategy. My focus here is quite narrow. My claims, if plausible, only show that the Moral Symmetry Principle is unsound and thus cannot serve as a basis for the view that killing and letting die are morally equivalent. (shrink)
HelenFrowe (2006/2010) contends that there is a substantial moral difference between killing and letting die, arguing that in Michael Tooley's infamous machine case it is morally wrong to flip a coin to determine who lives or dies. Here I argue that Frowe fails to show that killing and letting die are morally inequivalent. However, I believe that she has succeeded in showing that it is wrong to press the button in Tooley's case, where pressing the button (...) will change who lives and dies. I argue that because killing and letting die are morally equivalent we have no reason to press the button in the machine case. Pressing the button in this case is morally wrong because there is no reason to do it; to press the button is to treat matters of life and death irreverently. (shrink)
Most people believe that it is permissible to kill a nonresponsible threat, or someone who threatens one's life without exercising agency. Defenders of this view must show that there is a morally relevant difference between nonresponsible threats and innocent bystanders. Some philosophers, including Jonathan Quong and HelenFrowe, have attempted to do this by arguing that one who kills a bystander takes advantage of another person, while one who kills a threat does not. In this paper, I show (...) that the proposals offered by Quong and Frowe have unacceptable implications. I then argue that those who claim that nonresponsible threats may be killed face a dilemma generated by the possibility of a stationary threat, or someone who endangers another person's life without moving. Unless we arbitrarily distinguish between stationary and moving nonresponsible threats, it is unclear how the permission to kill nonresponsible threats is to be explicated. I conclude that nonresponsible threats are not legitimate targets of self-defence. (shrink)
A computer can come to understand natural language the same way Helen Keller did: by using “syntactic semantics”—a theory of how syntax can suffice for semantics, i.e., how semantics for natural language can be provided by means of computational symbol manipulation. This essay considers real-life approximations of Chinese Rooms, focusing on Helen Keller’s experiences growing up deaf and blind, locked in a sort of Chinese Room yet learning how to communicate with the outside world. Using the SNePS computational (...) knowledge-representation system, the essay analyzes Keller’s belief that learning that “everything has a name” was the key to her success, enabling her to “partition” her mental concepts into mental representations of: words, objects, and the naming relations between them. It next looks at Herbert Terrace’s theory of naming, which is akin to Keller’s, and which only humans are supposed to be capable of. The essay suggests that computers at least, and perhaps non-human primates, are also capable of this kind of naming. (shrink)
In her inventive and tightly argued book Defensive Killing, HelenFrowe defends the view that bystanders—those who do not pose threats to others—cannot be liable to being harmed in self-defence or in defence of others. On her account, harming bystanders always infringes their rights against being harmed, since they have not acted in any way to forfeit them. According to Frowe, harming bystanders can be justified only when it constitutes a lesser evil. In this brief essay, I (...) make the case that some bystanders can indeed be liable to harm. They can be liable, I will argue, because they can be morally responsible for threats of harm, and in becoming responsible they can forfeit their rights. While bystanders cannot be responsible for initiating threats, they can become responsible for the persistence of threats, and for culpably failing to prevent them from being initiated in the first place. (shrink)
Jeff McMahan has recently proposed what he calls a “combined liability-lesser-evil justification.” Its core idea is that the fact that someone has no right against the infliction of a certain lesser harm makes it easier for the necessity or lesser evil justification to justify inflicting a greater harm on him. This idea has been taken up by authors like Saba Bazargan or HelenFrowe. I will argue that McMahan’s basic idea is implausible to begin with, leads to counter-intuitive (...) results, and seems to stem from a confusion between discounting the rights of wrongdoers and “subtracting” one right from the other. I then argue that Bazargan’s conclusion that minimally responsible threats can sometimes be killed as well as certain other conclusions that Bazargan regards as a particular advantage of his “hybrid account” are single-handedly generated by one element of that account, namely by the lesser-evil discounting view. Thus, the hybrid view is redundant. Moreover, both the hybrid view and the lesser evil discounting view of killing MRTs have strongly counter-intuitive implications. Finally, I show that Frowe’s application of the combined justification to non-responsible threats is entirely arbitrary and therefore useless. “Combined liability-lesser-evil justifications” should be rejected. (shrink)
Bioethics at the Movies explores the ways in which popular films engage basic bioethical concepts and concerns. Twenty philosophically grounded essays use cinematic tools such as character and plot development, scene-setting, and narrative-framing to demonstrate a range of principles and topics in contemporary medical ethics. The first section plumbs popular and bioethical thought on birth, abortion, genetic selection, and personhood through several films, including The Cider House Rules, Citizen Ruth, Gattaca, and I, Robot. In the second section, the contributors examine (...) medical practice and troubling questions about the quality and commodification of life by way of Dirty Pretty Things, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and other movies. The third section's essays use Million Dollar Baby, Critical Care, Big Fish, and Soylent Green to show how the medical profession and society at large view issues related to aging, death, and dying. A final section makes use of Extreme Measures and select Spanish and Japanese films to discuss two foundational matters in bioethics: the role of theories and principles in medicine and the importance of cultural context in devising care. Structured to mirror bioethics and cinema classes, this innovative work includes end-of-chapter questions for further consideration and contributions from scholars from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Spain, and Australia. Contributors: Robert Arp, Ph.D., Michael C. Brannigan, Ph.D., Matthew Burstein, Ph.D., Antonio Casado da Rocha, Ph.D., Stephen Coleman, Ph.D., Jason T. Eberl, Ph.D., Paul J. Ford, Ph.D., HelenFrowe, M.A., Colin Gavaghan, Ph.D., Richard Hanley, Ph.D., Nancy Hansen, Ph.D., Al-Yasha Ilhaam, Ph.D., Troy Jollimore, Ph.D., Amy Kind, Ph.D., Zana Marie Lutfiyya, Ph.D., Terrance McConnell, Ph.D., Andy Miah, Ph.D., Nathan Norbis, Ph.D., Kenneth Richman, Ph.D., Karen D. Schwartz, LL.B., M.A., Sandra Shapshay, Ph.D., Daniel Sperling, LL.M., S.J.D., Becky Cox White, R.N., Ph.D., Clark Wolf, Ph.D. (shrink)
William Rapaport, in “How Helen Keller used syntactic semantics to escape from a Chinese Room,” (Rapaport 2006), argues that Helen Keller was in a sort of Chinese Room, and that her subsequent development of natural language fluency illustrates the flaws in Searle’s famous Chinese Room Argument and provides a method for developing computers that have genuine semantics (and intentionality). I contend that his argument fails. In setting the problem, Rapaport uses his own preferred definitions of semantics and syntax, (...) but he does not translate Searle’s Chinese Room argument into that idiom before attacking it. Once the Chinese Room is translated into Rapaport’s idiom (in a manner that preserves the distinction between meaningful representations and uninterpreted symbols), I demonstrate how Rapaport’s argument fails to defeat the CRA. This failure brings a crucial element of the Chinese Room Argument to the fore: the person in the Chinese Room is prevented from connecting the Chinese symbols to his/her own meaningful experiences and memories. This issue must be addressed before any victory over the CRA is announced. (shrink)
This essay considers some central arguments given by HelenFrowe and Seth Lazar regarding the permissibility of killing civilians in war. It raises some objections to their views and defends some alternative bases for weighing harms to combatants against harms to civilians.
Helen Dean King's scientific work focused on inbreeding using experimental data collected from standardized laboratory rats to elucidate problems in human heredity. The meticulous care with which she carried on her inbreeding experiments assured that her results were dependable and her theoretical explanations credible. By using her nearly homozygous rats as desired commodities, she also was granted access to venues and people otherwise unavailable to her as a woman. King's scientific career was made possible through her life experiences. She (...) earned a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College under Thomas Hunt Morgan and spent a productive career at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia where she had access to the experimental subjects which made her career possible. In this paper I examine King's work on inbreeding, her participation in the debates over eugenics, her position at the Wistar Institute, her status as a woman working with mostly male scientists, and her involvement with popular science. (shrink)
Most philosophical explorations of responsibility discuss the topic solely in terms of metaphysics and the "free will" problem. By contrast, these essays by leading philosophers view responsibility from a variety of perspectives -- metaphysics, ethics, action theory, and the philosophy of law. After a broad, framing introduction by the volume's editors, the contributors consider such subjects as responsibility as it relates to the "free will" problem; the relation between responsibility and knowledge or ignorance; the relation between causal and moral responsibility; (...) the difference, if any, between responsibility for actions and responsibility for omissions; the metaphysical requirements for making sense of "collective" responsibility; and the relation between moral and legal responsibility. The contributors include such distinguished authors as Alfred R. Mele, John Martin Fischer, George Sher, and Frances Kamm, as well as important rising scholars. Taken together, the essays in _Action, Ethics, and Responsibility_ offer a breadth of perspectives that is unmatched by other treatments of the topic. Contributors: Joseph Keim Campbell, David Chan, Randolph Clarke, E.J. Coffman, John Martin Fischer, HelenFrowe, Todd Jones, Frances Kamm, Antti Kauppinen, Alfred R. Mele, Michael O'Rourke, Paul Russell, Robert F. Schopp, George Sher, Harry S. Silverstein, Saul Smilansky, Donald Smith, Charles T. Wolfe The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket. (shrink)
Helen's self-disparagement is an anomaly in epic diction, and this is especially true of those instances where she refers to herself as "dog" and "dog-face." This essay attempts to show that Helen's dog-language, in that it remains in conflict with other features of her characterization, has some generic significance for epic, helping to establish the superiority of epic performance over competing performance types which treated her differently. The metaphoric use of χύων and its derivatives has not been well (...) understood: the scholiast's gloss "shameless" is no more than a functional equivalent, and interpretations linking it primarily with reckless courage or with sexual misconduct are not well founded. An analysis of contexts suggests that "dog" as an insult has a fundamental association with physical greed and even cannibalism. The implied notion of avarice, however, may also be extended into other behavioral spheres, including those of fighting and sexuality. A character may also be called "dog" for reviling or slandering another unjustly. These strongly negative implications are out of keeping with the character given to Helen in epic. For where tragedy and lyric generally represent Helen as blameworthy, Homeric epic tends to absolve her of blame and to make her personally as well as physically attractive. The unexpected application of dog-terms to her may therefore be read as an allusion to other versions of the Troy legend which were more hostile to Helen. Negative portrayals of Helen are likely to have figured in the ancient kitharodic narrative which was a precursor of both tragedy and lyric; these are perhaps the unfriendly "songs" mentioned by Helen at Il. 6.357. By referring to such defamatory narratives through the dog-insult and through other instances of Helen's self-blame, the epic performer marks his own more favorable treatment as a generic preference. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher argued that the freedom to pursue one's version of the good life is the main aim of Mill's argument for freedom of expression. According to Kitcher, in certain scientific fields, political and epistemological asymmetries bias research toward conclusions that threaten this most important freedom of underprivileged groups. Accordingly, Kitcher claimed that there are Millian grounds for limiting freedom of inquiry in these fields to protect the freedom of the underprivileged. -/- I explore Kitcher's argument in light of the (...) interpretation Helen Longino gave to Mill's argument. She argued that free critical dialogue in the community allows bias to be overcome, through intersubjective criticism of hypotheses and the background assumptions that frame them. I suggest that Longino's approach allows for the identification of the fundamental problems of the research programs Kitcher targeted, and for the rejection of their claims to knowledge. Thus it is possible to address Kitcher's problem without limiting freedom of speech. (shrink)
According to Helen Longino, objectivity is necessarily social as it depends on critical interactions in com- munity. Justin Biddle argues that Longino’s account presupposes individuals that are completely open to any criticism; as such individuals are in principle able to criticise their beliefs on their own, Longino’s account is not really social. In the first part of my paper I argue that even for completely open individuals, criticism for maintaining objectivity is only possible in community. In the second part (...) I question Biddle’s interpretation of Longino’s conception of the individual. I conclude that objectivity as Longino describes it is necessarily social. (shrink)
Ford’s Helen Keller Was Never in a Chinese Room claims that my argument in How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape from a Chinese Room fails because Searle and I use the terms ‘syntax’ and ‘semantics’ differently, hence are at cross purposes. Ford has misunderstood me; this reply clarifies my theory.