Marquis’s account of the ethics of abortion is unsatisfactory but not as Christensen implies baseless. It requires to be amended rather than abandoned. It is true, as Marquis asserts that murder and abortion both might deprive people of something of value to them, in particular, the life of a sort that might have been to them worth living. However, it is mistaken to conclude, as Marquis does, that murder and abortion are thereby morally equivalent. Not all deprivation is wrongful. Not (...) all that is wrongful is wrongful because it deprives someone of something. Contrary to what Christensen asserts, and Marquis seems to accept, it is not solely those discernible people who currently exist who might be deprived by our current actions. It is not only towards and concerning such living discernible people that we can have moral duties. It is not only such living discernible people who can be the beneficiaries of our generosity. Hence, contraception and the emission of greenhouse gases are, like abortion, issues that raise significant moral questions; however, they might each be properly answered. Nonetheless, it does not follow that is morally equivalent to each other far less than they are all morally equivalent to murder. If and when they are morally wrong, they can be different wrongs. (shrink)
The current UK policy for the distribution of scarce vaccination in an influenza pandemic is ethically dubious. It is based on the planned outcome of the maximum health benefit in terms of the saving of lives and the reduction of illness. To that end, the population is classified in terms of particular priority groups. An alternative policy with a non-consequentialist rationale is proposed in the present work. The state should give the vaccination, in the first instance, to those who are (...) at risk of catching the pandemic flu in the line of their duties of public employment. Thereafter, if there is not sufficient vaccine to give all citizens equally an effective dose, the state should give all citizens an equal chance of receiving an effective dose. This would be the just thing to do because the state has a duty to treat each and all of its citizens impartially and they have a corresponding right to such impartial treatment. Although this article specifically refers to the UK, it is considered that the suggested alternative policy would be applicable generally. The duty to act justly is not merely a local one. (shrink)
It is argued by Anderson and also in the BrazierReport that Commercial Surrogate Motherhood (C.S.M.)contracts and agencies should be illegal on thegrounds that C.S.M. involves the commodification ofboth mothers and babies. This paper takes issue withthis view and argues that C.S.M. is not inconsistentwith the proper respect for, and treatment of,children and women. A case for the legalisation ofC.S.M. is made.
Democracy surrounds us like the air we breath, and is normally taken very much for granted. Across the world democracy has become accepted as an unquestionably good thing. Yet upon further examination the merits of democracy are both paradoxical and problematic, and the treasured values of liberty and equality can be used to argue both for and against it. In the historical section of the book, Ross Harrison clearly traces the history of democracy by examining the works of, amongst (...) others, Plato and Aristotle, Hegel and Marx. Informed by facts and detailed knowledge of these famous thinkers, Harrison provides a clear and cogent justification of democracy. (shrink)
The status of human embryos is discussedparticularly in the light of the claim by Fox,in Health Care Analysis 8 that itwould be useful to think of them in terms ofcyborg metaphors.It is argued that we should consider humanembryos for what they are – partiallyformed human bodies – rather than for what theyare like in some respects (and unlike inothers) – cyborgs.However to settle the issue of the status ofthe embryo is not to answer the moral questionswhich arise concerning how embryos (...) should betreated. Since persons rather than bodies haverights, embryos do not have rights. However,whether or not embryos have rights, people canhave duties concerning them. Furthermore, thepersons whose fully developed bodies embryoswill, might (or might have) become can haverights. Contrary to what is often assumed, itis not merely persons who have (or have had)living, developed human bodies who have moralrights: so it is argued in this paper. (shrink)
Wardrope argues against my proposed non-consequentialist policy for the distribution of scarce influenza vaccine in the face of a pandemic. According to him, even if one accepts what he calls my deontological ethical theory, it does not follow that we are required to agree with my proposed randomised allocation of doses of vaccine by means of a lottery. He argues in particular that I fail to consider fully the prophylactic role of vaccination whereby it serves to protect from infection more (...) people than are vaccinated. He concludes that: ‘The benefits and burdens of vaccination are provided impartially and far more effectively by targeted vaccination than impartial lotteries.’ He has shown convincingly that this conclusion can be established in the case of his particular envisaged scenario. However, Wardrope gives no reason to suppose that, in the circumstances that we actually face, targeted vaccination would constitute impartial treatment of citizens in the UK. I readily agree with Wardrope that if it should treat its citizens justly and impartially, it does not necessarily follow that the state should distribute vaccinations of the basis of a lottery. That will be a reasonable thing to do only if certain assumptions are made. These assumptions will not always be reasonable. However, they are reasonable ones to make in the actual circumstances that currently apply. (shrink)
In his discussion of ethics and abortion, Prof. Richard Dawkins makes the provocative claim that: ‘The Great Beethoven Fallacy is a typ ical example of the kind of logical mess we get into when our minds are befuddled by religiously inspired absolutism.’ (Dawkins, p. 339) This supposed fallacy is presented as if it exemplified not only a particular view of abortion held, for instance, by certain fundamentalist Christians but as if it revealed some flaw that is characteristic of the thinking (...) of theists. I shall examine his claim. (shrink)
Various authors, for instance Elizabeth Anderson, Rosemary Tong, Mary Warnock and Margaret Brazier have argued that commercial surrogate motherhood is exploitative and that it should be prohibited. Their arguments are unconvincing. Exploitation is a more complex notion than it is usually presented as being. Unequal bargaining power can be a cause of exploitation but the exercise of unequal bargaining power is not inevitably or inherently exploitative. Exploitation concerns unfair and/or unjust strategies - rather than the exercise of power as such. (...) Commercial surrogate motherhood is not necessarily exploitative. Furthermore, not all transactions which are exploitative should be made illegal. (shrink)
Le Grand describes a situation where a drunk driver, who has medical insurance, is the cause of an accident in which he and a sober pedestrian, who has no medical insurance, are both equally and seriously injured. At the private hospital to which they are both taken, there is available emergency treatment for one of them only. Who should receive it? The issues raised by Le Grand's example are shown to be more interesting, more complex and less clearcut than Le (...) Grand suggests and implies. In particular, it is not the case that, unequivocally, the drunkenness of the driver establishes that the pedestrian rather than he should be treated nor that, unequivocally, the driver's possession of health insurance is morally irrelevant. (shrink)
In a recent article in Health Care Analysis (Vol. 8, No. 1),Campbell misrepresents our specific arguments about commercialsurrogate motherhood (C.S.M.) and our general philosophical andpolitical views by saying or suggesting that we are `Millsian'liberals and consequentialists. He gives too the false impressionthat we do not oppose, in principle, slavery and child purchase.Here our position on C.S.M. is re-expressed and elaborated uponin order to eliminate possible confusion. Our general ethical andphilosophical framework is also outlined and shown to be otherthan Campbell says (...) that it is. In particular, a moral philosophythat it is based on neither consequentialism nor Kantianism ispresented. C.S.M., it is argued, is not child purchase. It is like it insome respects and unlike it in others. It is unlike it in therespects which, relative to the present discussion, matter. (shrink)
In this paper we investigate the legal arrangements involved in UK surrogate motherhood from a transaction-cost perspective. We outline the specific forms the transaction costs take and critically comment on the way in which the UK institutional and organisational arrangements at present adversely influence transaction costs. We then focus specifically on the potential role of surrogacy agencies and look at UK and US evidence on commercial and voluntary agencies. Policy implications follow.
Rather than to focus upon a particular ‘right to life’, we should consider what rights there are pertaining to our lives and to our living. There are different sorts. There are, for instance, rights that constitute absences of particular duties and rights that correspond to the duties of other agents or agencies. There are also natural and non-natural rights and duties. Different people in different contexts can have different moral duties and different moral rights including rights to life. The question (...) of the moral rights there are to and pertaining to life is considered with reference to James Griffin’s account of human rights. Also considered is the question of who or what can be a bearer of them. (shrink)
Health research is increasingly being conducted on a global scale, particularly in the developing world to address leading causes of morbidity and mortality. While research interest has increased, building scientific capacity in the developing world has not kept pace. This often leads to the export of human tissue (defined broadly) from the developing to the developed world for analysis. These practices raise a number of important ethical issues that require attention.
Recent efforts by legislative officials and public health advocates to reform the US food stamp program, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, have focused on restricting the types of foods eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits, specifically sugar-sweetened beverages. We argue that it is, in principle, permissible for the US government to enact a SNAP-specific SSB ban prohibiting the purchase of SSBs with SNAP benefits. While the government has a duty to ensure that citizens meet their nutritional needs, since SSBs provide (...) negligible nutrition, it has no obligation to subsidize them. Additionally, there is good reason to think that a SNAP-specific SSB ban would enable the government to better fulfill two other duties—improving citizens’ health and providing public services like Medicaid and Medicare in a more cost-effective manner. Still, because the costs and benefits of such a ban remain uncertain, we argue that the government should conduct well-designed pilot projects to help determine the effects of an SSB ban. (shrink)
Identity, Morality, and Threat offers a critical examination of the social psychological processes that generate outgroup devaluation and ingroup glorification as the source of conflict. Daniel Rothbart and Karyna Korostelina bring together essays analyzing the causal relationship between escalating violence and opposing images of the Self and Other.
This article addresses a pertinent challenge to Scandinavian realism which follows from the widespread perception that the fundamental philosophical premises on which the movement relies, are no longer tenable. Focusing on Alf Ross’s version of Scandinavian realism which has often been at the centre of critical attention, the author argues that Ross’s theory can survive the fall of logical positivism through an exercise of philosophical reconstruction. More specifically, he claims that it is possible to dismount Ross’s realist (...) legal theory almost intact from its commitments to logical positivism and embed it into an alternative naturalist philosophical program that is currently very strong in contemporary philosophy. In so doing, the author applies a narrow Quinean conception of naturalism, also known as replacement naturalism, which differs from a broader inclusive conception which has been applied by other scholars in the field but which leaves the philosophical crisis of Scandinavian realism unsolved. (shrink)
Neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a technology for the treatment of respiratory failure in newborns, is used as a case study to examine statistical and ethical aspects of clinical trials and to illustrate a proposed 'ethics of evidence', an approach to medical uncertainty within the context of contemporary biomedical ethics. Discussion includes the twofold aim of the ethics of evidence: to clarify the role of uncertainty and scientific evidence in medical decision-making, and to call attention to the need to confront (...) the irreducible nature of uncertainty. (shrink)