The maxim “parents should do what is in the best interests of their child” seems like an unassailable truth, and yet, as I argue here, there are serious problems with it when it is taken seriously. One problem concerns the sort of demands such a principle places on parents; the other concerns its larger social implications when conceived as part of a national policy for the rearing of children. The theory of parenting that creates these problems I call “optimizing parentalism.” (...) To avoid them, I define and defend a new and more morally appealing theory, “satisficing parentalism.”. (shrink)
Abstract: Forgiveness of wrongdoing in response to public apology and amends making seems, on the face of it, to leave little room for the continued commemoration of wrongdoing. This rests on a misunderstanding of forgiveness, however, and we can explain why there need be no incompatibility between them. To do this, I emphasize the role of what I call nonangry negative moral emotions in constituting memories of wrongdoing. Memories so constituted can persist after forgiveness and have important moral functions, and (...) commemorations can elicit these emotions to preserve memories of this sort. Moreover, commemorations can be a restorative justice practice that promotes reconciliation, but only on condition that the memories they preserve are constituted by nonangry negative, not retributive, emotions. (shrink)
What is a disability? What sorts of limitations do persons with disabilities or impairments experience? What is there about having a disability or impairment that makes it disadvantageous for the individuals with it? Are persons with severe cognitive impairments capable of making autonomous decisions? What role should disability play in the construction of theories of justice? Is it ever ethical for parents to seek to create a child with an impairment? This anthology addresses these and other questions and is a (...) valuable addition to a growing interdisciplinary literature exploring issues at the intersection of disability studies, philosophy, and bioethics. Most of the authors are well-known from their previous work in the disability field and have already made significant philosophical contributions to it. (shrink)
In this paper, we critically appraise institutions for people with disabilities, from residential facilities to outpatient clinics to social organizations. While recognizing that a just and inclusive society would reject virtually all segregated institutional arrangements, we argue that in contemporary American society, some people with disabilities may have needs that at this time can best be met by institutional arrangements. We propose ways of reforming institutions to make them less isolating, coercive, and stigmatizing, and to provide forms of social support (...) the larger society denies many people with disabilities. Although these reforms far fall far short of abolition, they draw heavily on the work of disability scholars and advocates who call for the complete replacement of institutional arrangements with systems of supported living. The consideration of non-ideal-solutions is useful not only in reforming existing institutional arrangements, but in bringing disability scholarship and advocacy to bear on bioethics, which has paid little attention to institutions for people with disabilities. We intend this paper to redress the neglect within mainstream bioethics of the complex ethical problems posed by institutions. (shrink)
This essay is written in the belief that questions relating to the treatment of impaired and imperiled newborns cannot be adequately resolved in the absence of a general moral theory of parent-child relations. The rationale for treatment decisions in these cases should be consistent with principles that ought to govern the normal work of parenting. The first section of this paper briefly examines the social contract theory elaborated by John Rawls in his renowned book A Theory of Justice and extracts (...) from it normative principles that can guide us in our attempt to lay a rational foundation for parenthood. The second section clarifies the implications of a Rawlsian theory for the problem at hand by examining several standards that have been proposed for the treatment of impaired newborns: the strict right-to-life standard, the medical decision standard, and the quality-of-life standard. A Rawlsian standard, by contrast, is autonomy-based. That is, it would have us base our treatment decisions on consideration of the child's capacity for developing critical rationality in making decisions on his or her own. This standard, it is suggested, avoids morally objectionable features of the others. (shrink)
The pluralism that democratic regimes foster creates the following serious problem in societies: When people disagree so fundamentally about the good life, where are the grounds of social unity to be found? This is a quite general problem for liberal political theory, but in this chapter I want to focus on a related but narrower set of issues having to do with what justice requires with respect to the provision of health care in modern democratic societies.
: Urban bioethics seeks to broaden the traditional focus of bioethics to encompass questions about the interplay of individuals with family, group, community, and society. Urban bioethics will need to deal with cultural diversity, issues of equity, and the conflict between individual rights and the public good. Encouraging a multicultural ethical discernment, fostering an appreciation of the political, economic, sociological, and psychological issues that inform the question of urban moral choice, urban bioethics is essentially a multi-disciplinary, synthesizing enterprise. Several theoretical (...) models including social contract, rule utilitarian, communitarian, and feminist paradigms offer complementary conceptual frameworks. This paper is offered as a proposal, a road map for future study to place current bioethical analysis into a broader context. (shrink)
Despite the current popularity of what is commonly referred to as an `ethics of care', no one has yet undertaken a systematic philosophical study of `care' itself. In this book, Jeffrey Blustein presents the first such study, offering a detailed exploration of human `care' in its various guises: concern for and commitment to individuals, ideals, and causes. Blustein focuses on the nature and value of personal integrity and intimacy, and on the questions they raise for traditional moral theory.
The theme of this book is the complex moral psychology of forgiving and remembering in both personal and political contexts. It offers an original account of the moral psychology of interpersonal forgiveness and explores its role in transitional societies. The book also examines the symbolic moral significance of memorialization in these societies and reflects on its relationship to forgiveness.
Despite an explosion of studies on memory in historical and cultural studies, there is relatively little in moral philosophy on this subject. In this book, Jeffrey Blustein provides a systematic and philosophically rigorous account of a morality of memory. Drawing on a broad range of philosophical and humanistic literatures, he offers a novel examination of memory and our relations to people and events from our past, the ways in which memory is preserved and transmitted, and the moral responsibilities associated with (...) it. Blustein treats topics of responsibility for one's own past; historical injustice and the role of memory in doing justice to the past; the relationship of collective memory to history and identity; collective and individual obligations to remember those who have died, including those who are dear to us; and the moral significance of bearing witness. (shrink)