There is no issue more central to the abortion debate than the controversial issue of whether the fetus is a moral person. Abortion-rights opponents almost universally claim that abortion is murder and should be legally prohibited because the fetus is a moral person at the moment of conception. Abortion-rights proponents almost universally deny the crucial assumption that the fetus is a person; on their view, whatever moral disvalue abortion involves does not rise to the level of murder and hence does (...) not rise to the level of something that should be legally prohibited.In this essay, I argue that, under dualist assumptions about the nature of mind, the fetus is not a person until brain activity has begun.i First, I argue it is a necessary condition for a thing to be a moral person that it is a self. Second, I argue it is a necessary condition for a fetus to be a self, under dualist assumptions, that there has been some electrical activity in the brain. I conclude that a dualist can take the position that abortion ought to be legally permitted at least until the beginning of brain activity in the fetus. (shrink)
Whether or not intellectual property rights ought, as a matter of political morality, to be protected by the law surely depends on what kinds of interests the various parties have in intellectual content. Although theorists disagree on the limits of morally legitimate lawmaking authority, this much seems obvious: the coercive power of the law should be employed only to protect interests that rise to a certain level of moral importance. We have such a significant interest in not being lied to, (...) for example, that ordinary unilateral lies are morally wrong, but the wrongness of lying does not rise to the level of something the state should protect against by coercive criminal prohibition. Indeed, it would clearly be wrong for the law to coercively restrict behaviors in which no one has any morally significant interests whatsoever. Using the coercive power of the law to restrict freedom is not justified unless the moral benefits of restricting the behavior outweigh the moral costs involved in using force to restrict human autonomy and freedom. (shrink)
The Fair-Start Defense justifies affirmative action preferences as a response to harms caused by race- and sex-based discrimination. Rather than base a justification for preferences on the traditional appeal to self-esteem, I argue they are justified in virtue of the effects institutional discrimination has on the goals and aspirations of its victims. In particular, I argue that institutional discrimination puts women and blacks at an unfair competitive disadvantage by causing academic disidentification. Affirmative action is justified as a means of negating (...) this unfair disadvantage. (shrink)
The theoretical core of positivism is thought to consist of three theses about the nature of law. The separability thesis denies the existence of necessary moral constraints on the content of law. The pedigree thesis articulates necessary and sufficient conditions for legal validity having to do with how or by whom law is promulgated. The discretion thesis asserts that judges decide hard cases by making new law. While it is often assumed that these theses form a coherent theoretical whole, such (...) an assumption is false. Construed as a claim about all possible legal systems, the discretion thesis is inconsistent with the pedigree thesis. Construed as a claim that is true in some, but not all, possible legal systems, the discretion thesis makes a fundamentally different kind of claim than those made by the pedigree and separability theses and hence should not be thought of as part of positivism's theory of law. (shrink)
Art and Authority explores the sources, nature, and limits of artistic freedom. K. E. Gover draws upon real-world cases and controversies in contemporary visual art to offer a better understanding of artistic authorship and authority. Each chapter focuses on a case of dispute over the rights of an artist with respect to his or her artwork.
K. E. Boxer explores moral responsibility, and whether it is compatible with causal determinism. She suggests that to answer this question we must focus on responsibility in the sense of liability, and that an incompatibilist view may only be preserved on an understanding of the moral desert of punishment that many find morally problematic.
Knud Ejler Løgstrup’s _The Ethical Demand_ is the most original influential Danish contribution to moral philosophy in this century. This is the first time that the complete text has been available in English translation. Originally published in 1956, it has again become the subject of widespread interest in Europe, now read in the context of the whole of Løgstrup’s work. _The Ethical Demand_ marks a break not only with utilitarianism and with Kantianism but also with Kierkegaard’s Christian existentialism and with (...) all forms of subjectivism. Yet Løgstrup’s project is not destructive. Rather, it is a presentation of an alternative understanding of interpersonal life. The ethical demand presupposes that all interaction between human beings involves a basic trust. Its content cannot be derived from any rule. For Løgstrup, there is not Christian morality and secular morality. There is only human morality. _The Ethical Demand _is of the highest relevance to contemporary debate, especially around those issues raised by Levinas. It will exert a steadily increasing influence both in theology and philosophy. (shrink)
The aim of this inquiry is to determine whether printmaking is best understood ontologically as analogous to a work-performance relation. Are prints the visual analogue of symphonies? My motivation for pursuing the comparison of printmaking to music is twofold. First, because relatively little has been written on the ontology of fine art prints, our use of an already developed body of scholarship will help us to gain some traction on the question. Second, within the existing literature on the ontology of (...) prints, there seems to be a persistent confusion about the difference between what makes a print an artwork, and what makes it a genuine or authentic artwork, signed or in some other way ratified by a given artist. I conclude by suggesting that prints are indeed ontologically unusual insofar as they occupy an intermediate position between pure multiples, of which there can be an unlimited number of tokens, and singular artworks that consist of one physical object. (shrink)
In this essay, I describe and explain the standard accounts of agency, natural agency, artificial agency, and moral agency, as well as articulate what are widely taken to be the criteria for moral agency, supporting the contention that this is the standard account with citations from such widely used and respected professional resources as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I then flesh out the implications of some of these well-settled theories (...) with respect to the prerequisites that an ICT must satisfy in order to count as a moral agent accountable for its behavior. I argue that each of the various elements of the necessary conditions for moral agency presupposes consciousness, i.e., the capacity for inner subjective experience like that of pain or, as Nagel puts it, the possession of an internal something-of-which-it is-is-to-be-like. I ultimately conclude that the issue of whether artificial moral agency is possible depends on the issue of whether it is possible for ICTs to be conscious. (shrink)
The scientific community, we hold, often provides society with knowledge—that the HIV virus causes AIDS, that anthropogenic climate change is underway, that the MMR vaccine is safe. Some deny that we have this knowledge, however, and work to undermine it in others. It has been common to refer to such agents as “denialists”. At first glance, then, denialism appears to be a form of skepticism. But while we know that various denialist strategies for suppressing belief are generally effective, little is (...) known about which strategies are most effective. We see this as an important first step toward their remediation. This paper leverages the approximate comparison to various forms of philosophical skepticism to design an experimental test of the efficacy of four broad strategies of denial at suppressing belief in specific scientific claims. Our results suggest that assertive strategies are more effective at suppressing belief than questioning strategies. (shrink)
K ⊈ E.Elia Zardini - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3):540-557.details
In a series of very influential works, Tim Williamson has advanced and defended a much discussed theory of evidence containing, among other claims, the thesis that, if one knows P, P is part of one's evidence. I argue that K ⊆ E is false, and indeed that it is so for a reason that Williamson himself essentially provides in arguing against the thesis that, if one has a justified true belief in P, P is part of one's evidence: together with (...) a very plausible principle governing the acquisition of knowledge by non-deductive inference based on evidence, K ⊆ E leads, in a sorites-like fashion, to what would seem a series of unacceptably bootstrapping expansions of one's evidence. I then develop some considerations about the functions of and conditions for evidence which are suggested by the argument against K ⊆ E. I close by discussing the relationship of the argument with anti-closure arguments of the style exemplified by the preface paradox: I contend that, if closure is assumed, it is extremely plausible to expect that the diagnosis of what goes wrong in the preface-paradox-style argument cannot be used to block my own argument. (shrink)