Although a safe, effective, and licensed coronavirus vaccine does not yet exist, there is already controversy over how it ought to be allocated. Justice is clearly at stake, but it is unclear what justice requires in the international distribution of a scarce vaccine during a pandemic. Many are condemning ‘vaccine nationalism’ as an obstacle to equitable global distribution. We argue that limited national partiality in allocating vaccines will be a component of justice rather than an obstacle to it. For there (...) are role-based and community-embedded responsibilities to take care of one’s own, which constitute legitimate moral reasons for some identity-related prioritisation. Furthermore, a good form of vaccine nationalism prioritises one’s own without denying or ignoring duties derived from a principle of equal worth, according to which all persons, regardless of citizenship or identity, equally deserve vaccine-induced protection from COVID-19. Rather than dismissing nationalism as a tragic obstacle, it is necessary to acknowledge that a limited form of it is valuable and expresses moral commitments. Only then can one understand our world of competing obligations, a world where cosmopolitan duties of benevolence sometimes conflict with special obligations of community membership. Once these competing obligations are recognised as such, we can begin the work of designing sound ethical frameworks for achieving justice in the global distribution of a coronavirus vaccine and developing practical strategies for avoiding, mitigating or resolving conflicts of duty. (shrink)
We must resist thoroughly reframing climate change as a health issue. For human health–centric ethical frameworks omit dimensions of value that we must duly consider. We need a new, an environmental, research ethic, one that we can use to more completely and impartially evaluate proposed research on mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Research misconduct remains an important problem in health research despite decades of local, national, regional, and international efforts to eliminate it. The ultimate goal of every health research project, irrespective of setting, is to produce trustworthy findings to address local as well as global health issues. To be able to lead or participate meaningfully in international research collaborations, individual and institutional capacities for research integrity are paramount. Accordingly, this paper concerns itself not only with individuals’ research skills but also with (...) institutional and national policies and governance. Such policies and governance provide an ethical scaffold for the production of knowledge and structure incentives. This paper’s operational definition of research therefore draws from Institute of Medicine’s articulation of health research as an inquiry that aims to produce knowledge about the structure, processes, or effects of personal health services; and from an existing health systems framework. The paper reviews the research regulatory environment and the ethics apparatus in Ghana, and describes a project jointly undertaken by Ghanaian researchers in collaboration with New York University to assess the perceived adequacy of current institutional practices, opportunities, and incentives for promoting RI. (shrink)
According to G E Moore,1 we commit the naturalistic fallacy when we infer ‘x is good’ from non-evaluative premises involving x such as ‘ x is pleasant’ or ‘ x is desired’. On Moore’s view, the mistake is to think that we can reduce moral goodness to anything else or explain it in any other terms. We cannot analyse ‘good’, Moore thought, because goodness is simple, non-natural and sui generis. If Moore were alive today, and if he were to ask (...) contemporary bioethicists the right questions, he would probably find that many of them commit the naturalistic fallacy when they move from empirical premises to normative conclusions or when they articulate complex notions of the good. Pugh et al 2 might commit the naturalistic fallacy themselves when they conclude that people with natural immunity to COVID-19 should be exempt from vaccine mandates because such exemptions would achieve desired public health benefits. Moore would probably find me guilty of committing the naturalistic fallacy if I were to present my arguments against such exemptions. A reanimated Moore would find that the naturalistic fallacy pervades bioethics and public health. In contrast, as I shall argue, the un naturalistic fallacy is probably nowhere to be found. In this commentary, I explain what the so-called unnaturalistic fallacy really is and raise doubts about whether anyone really commits it. Decades after Moore published Principia Ethica, Bernard Williams observed that the naturalistic fallacy is unfortunately named since it is neither a fallacy nor an argumentative tendency unique to ethical naturalists.3 Ethical non-naturalists make the same mistake—if it is a mistake—when they move from, say, ‘x is commanded by the gods’ to ‘x is good’. Just as Moore’s ‘naturalistic fallacy’ misnames, Pugh et al ’s ‘unnaturalistic fallacy’ misleads. To be …. (shrink)
In ‘Against vaccine nationalism’, Nicole Hassoun misrepresents our argument, distorts our position and ignores crucial distinctions we present in our article, ‘Love thy neighbor? Allocating vaccines in a world of competing obligations’. She has created a strawman that does not resemble our position. In this reply, we address two features of ‘Against vaccine nationalism’. First, we address a phantom premise. Hassoun misattributes to us a thesis, according to which citizen-directed duties are stronger than noncitizen-directed duties. This thesis is a figment (...) of her imagination, not a fragment of our argument. Second, we address a shape-shifting ism. Ambiguity attaches to ‘vaccine nationalism,’ ambiguity that Hassoun exploits despite our distinguishing various meanings of the phrase. As a result, the type of vaccine nationalism she argues against is not the type we defend. (shrink)
I defend a thesis called metaethical intentionalism, according to which deontic moral judgments (“ought” judgments) are intersubjective intentions or verbal expressions of intersubjective intentions. They have the form, “We shall any of us do A in C,” or are derivable from such practical commitments. They are universalizable by virtue of their content (“… any of us …”) and sharable by virtue of their form (“We …”). My account of the moral “ought” is inspired by the moral writings of Wilfrid Sellars (...) (1912–1989). While I draw on his work and offer interpretations, my primary aim is to develop and refine Sellars’s metaethical legacy, extending and applying it to metaethical issues he did not fully address. In Chapter I, I articulate and argue for the theory’s main claims. I also construct a novel interpretation of Sellarsian we-intentions, one that resists a collectivist reading of the first-person-plural “we” that animates the moral point of view. In Chapter II, I create a taxonomy of practical disagreements and use the theory’s resources to identify the loci of moral disagreements at various nodes in web-like patterns of practical inference. In Chapter III, I address internalism–externalism debates about moral motivation and reasons for action. I argue that metaethical intentionalism commits us to both internalisms, and I show that it provides powerful resources for meeting motivational externalists’ objections and explaining away the appeal of externalism about reasons. (shrink)
In this chapter, Kyle Ferguson argues for an individualist account of Sellarsian we-intentions. According to the individualist account, we-intentions’ intersubjective form renders them shareable rather than requiring that they be shared. Contrary to collectivist accounts, one may we-intend independently of whether and without presupposing that one's community shares one's we-intentions. After providing textual support, Ferguson proposes and implements a strategy of reportorial ascent, which strengthens the case for the individualist account. Reportorial ascent involves reflecting on the sentences one would use (...) to report or self-ascribe we-intentions. As Ferguson argues, we-intention-reporting sentences have ‘I’ as their subjects, which reveals that their truth conditions, like the performance conditions of their expressive counterparts, are satisfied by the individual who reports or expresses those intentions rather than by the host community. We-intention-reporting sentences, which make explicit both dimensions of independence and shareability, also reveal that intersubjective form is a feature of we-intentions qua mental states rather than a feature of their contents. Ferguson concludes that although the individualist account needs further development, the sketch provided in this chapter is compelling enough to demand that individualism and independence be moved from the periphery to the core of our study of we-intentions in Sellars's practical philosophy. (shrink)