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  1. How Outlandish Can Imaginary Cases Be?Jakob Elster - 2011 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (3):241-258.
    It is common in moral philosophy to test the validity of moral principles by proposing counter-examples in the form of cases where the application of the principle does not give the conclusion we intuitively find valid. These cases are often imaginary and sometimes rather ‘outlandish’, involving ray guns, non-existent creatures, etc. I discuss whether we can test moral principles with the help of outlandish cases, or if only realistic cases are admissible. I consider two types of argument against outlandish cases: (...)
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  2.  96
    Political Theory with an Ethnographic Sensibility.Bernardo Zacka, Brooke Ackerly, Jakob Elster, Signy Gutnick Allen, Humeira Iqtidar, Matthew Longo & Paul Sagar - 2021 - Contemporary Political Theory 20 (2):385-418.
    Political theory is a field that finds nourishment in others. From economics, history, sociology, psychology, and political science, theorists have drawn a rich repertoire of schemas to parse the social world and make sense of it. With each of these encounters, new subjects are brought into focus as others recede into the background, ushering a change not only in how questions are tackled but also in what questions are thought worth asking.
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  3. Procreative beneficence – cui Bono?Jakob Elster - 2009 - Bioethics 25 (9):482-488.
    Recently, Julian Savulescu and Guy Kahane have defended the Principle of Procreative Beneficence (PB), according to which prospective parents ought to select children with the view that their future child has ‘the best chance of the best life’. I argue that the arguments Savulescu and Kahane adduce in favour of PB equally well support what I call the Principle of General Procreative Beneficence (GPB). GPB states that couples ought to select children in view of maximizing the overall expected value in (...)
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  4.  16
    Policy-Development and Deference to Moral Experts.Jakob Elster - 2024 - Res Publica 30 (1):11-29.
    The involvement of ethicists, philosophers or others who might qualify as ‘moral experts’ in policy-development, where they are sometimes, typically as members of a committee, given an advisory role, is often seen as problematic, for several reasons. First, there may be doubts as to the very existence of moral experts, and it may be hard to know who the moral experts are. Next, even if these problems are solved, giving experts a special role in policy-making might be problematic from a (...)
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  5.  18
    Philosophy, Policy, and Moral Expertise.Jakob Elster & Cathrine Holst - 2024 - Res Publica 30 (1):1-9.
    Well-functioning modern democracies depend largely on expert knowledge and expert arrangements, but this expertise reliance also causes severe problems for their legitimacy. Somewhat surprisingly, moral and political philosophers have come to play an increasing role as experts in contemporary policymaking. The paper discusses different epistemic and democratic worries raised by the presence of philosopher experts in contemporary governance, relying on a broad review of existing studies, and suggests measures to alleviate them. It is argued that biases philosophers are vulnerable to (...)
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  6. Scanlon on Permissibility and Double Effect.Jakob Elster - 2012 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (1):75-102.
    In his book Moral Dimensions. Permissibility, Meaning, Blame , T.M. Scanlon proposes a new account of permissibility, and argues, against the doctrine of double effect (DDE), that intentions do not matter for permissibility. I argue that Scanlon's account of permissibility as based on what the agent should have known at the time of action does not sufficiently take into account Scanlon's own emphasis on permissibility as a question for the deliberating agent. A proper account of permissibility, based on the agent's (...)
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  7.  15
    Hva skal vi med etiske komiteer?Jakob Elster - 2007 - Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics 1 (1):11-31.
    Den offentlige beslutningsprosessen i bioetiske spørsmål i Norge preges av stor bruk av etiske komiteer. I denne artikkelen reiser jeg spørsmålet om hvordan denne bruken kan begrunnes. Mens en god offentlig prosess krever at det finnes organer som tar seg av nemndenes drøftende og informasjonsgivende funksjon, er det mindre sikkert hvorvidt vi trenger deres rådgivende funksjon, som det til en viss grad er mulig å skille fra de to andre funksjonene. Nemndenes rådgivende funksjon kjennetegnes ved at deres råd gis en (...)
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    Å velge eller ikke velge.Jakob Elster - 2005 - Agora Journal for metafysisk spekulasjon 23 (3):207-217.
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  9.  73
    Wrongful Life, Suicide, and Euthanasia.Jakob Elster - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (9999):273-282.
    “Wrongful life” claims are made by persons born with a disease to the effect that they should not have been born. I ask whether we can say that if someone claims that he would have been better off if he were not born, he would be better off if he died. I examine the relationship between the following propositions:(1) It would have been better for me if I were not born.(2) My life (as a whole) is not worth living.(3) It (...)
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