How should we respond to individuals with disabilities? What does it mean to be disabled? Over fifty million Americans, from neonates to the fragile elderly, are disabled. Some people say they have the right to full social participation, while others repudiate such claims as delusive or dangerous. In this compelling book, three experts in ethics, medicine, and the law address pressing disability questions in bioethics and public policy. Anita Silvers, David Wasserman, and Mary B. Mahowald test important theories of justice (...) by bringing them to bear on subjects of concern in a wide variety of disciplines dealing with disability. They do so in the light of recent advances in feminist, minority, and cultural studies, and of the groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act. (shrink)
The tendency to reciprocate – to return good for good and evil for evil – is a potent force in human life, and the concept of reciprocity is closely connected to fundamental notions of ‘justice’, ‘obligation’ or ‘duty’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘equality’. In _Reciprocity_, first published in 1986,_ _Lawrence Becker presents a sustained argument about reciprocity, beginning with the strategy for developing a moral theory of the virtues. He considers the concept of reciprocity in detail, contending that it is a basic (...) virtue that provides the basis for parental authority, obligations to future generations, and obedience to law. Throughout the first two parts of the book, Becker intersperses short pieces of his own narrative fiction to enrich reflection on the philosophical arguments. The final part is devoted to extensive bibliographical essays, ranging over anthropology, psychology, political theory and law, as well as the relevant ethics and political philosophy. (shrink)
The question addressed by this book is what, if anything, stoic ethics would be like today if stoicism had had a continuous history to the present day as a plausible and coherent set of philosophical commitments and methods. The book answers that question by arguing that most of the ancient doctrines of Stoic ethics remain defensible today, at least when ancient Stoicism's cosmological commitments are replaced by modern scientific ones.
_Property Rights: Philosophic Foundations,_ first published in 1977, comprehensively examines the general justifications for systems of private property rights, and discusses with great clarity the major arguments as to the rights and responsibilities of property ownership. In particular, the arguments that hold that there are natural rights derived from first occupancy, labour, utility, liberty and virtue are considered, as are the standard anti-property arguments based on disutility, virtue and inequality, and the belief that justice in distribution must take precedence over (...) private ownership. Lawrence Becker goes on to contend that there are four sound lines of argument for private property that, together with what is sound in the anti-property arguments, must be co-ordinated to form the foundations of a new theory. He therefore expounds a concise but sophisticated theory of property that is relevant to the modern world, and concludes by indicating some of the implications of his theory. (shrink)
The editors, working with a team of 325 renowned authorities in the field of ethics, have revised, expanded, and updated this classic encyclopedia. Along with the addition of 150 new entries, all of the original articles have been newly peer-reviewed and revised, bibliographies have been updated throughout, and the overall design of the work has been enhanced for easier access to cross-references and other reference features. New entries include * Aristotelian Ethics * Avicenna * Bad Faith * Beneficence * Categorical (...) and Hypothetical Imperatives * Cheating * Civil Liberty * Conventions * Dirty hands * Evolution * Fiduciary Relationships * Gay ethics * Genetic Engineering * Holocaust * Journalism * Killing/Letting Die * Moral Imagination * Narrative Ethics * Political correctness * Population Ethics * Public and 0rivate Morality * Racism, concepts of * and many more. (shrink)
This symposium paper for the APA analyzes Locke's labor theory of property acquisition as a formal argument – or set of alternative arguments – and shows how several of them are indeed sound, if appropriately limited by what amounts to a social welfare proviso. That proviso is, however, strong enough to limit the acquisition of private property in a significant way. The argument here anticipates fuller and more decisive ones in later work by the same author.
Many works intended to introduce interpretive issues in quantum mechanics present John von Neumann as having a view in which measurement produces a physical collapse in the system being measured. In this paper I argue that such a reading of von Neumann is inconsistent with what von Neumann actually says. I show that much of what he says makes no sense on the physical collapse reading, but falls into place if we assume he does not have such a view. I (...) show that the physical collapse view is based on an understanding of ‘state’ which von Neumann does not share. Introduction The standard reading of von Neumann The standard reading of von Neumann and Chapter VI The Chapter VI argument The Chapter V argument The Chapters III and IV argument Conclusion. (shrink)
As one of the most important ethicists to emerge since the Second World War, Alan Gewirth continues to influence philosophical debates concerning morality. In this ground-breaking book, Gewirth's neo-Kantianism, and the communitarian problems discussed, form a dialogue on the foundation of moral theory. Themes of agent-centered constraints, the formal structure of theories, and the relationship between freedom and duty are examined along with such new perspectives as feminism, the Stoics, and Sartre. Gewirth offers a picture of the philosopher's theory and (...) its applications, providing a richer, more complete critical assessement than any which has occurred to date. (shrink)
A philosophical essay under this title faces severe rhetorical challenges. New accounts of the good life regularly and rapidly turn out to be variations of old ones, subject to a predictable range of decisive objections. Attempts to meet those objections with improved accounts regularly and rapidly lead to a familiar impasse — that while a life of contemplation, or epicurean contentment, or stoic indifference, or religious ecstasy, or creative rebellion, or self-actualization, or many another thing might count as a good (...) life, none of them can plausibly be identified with the good life, or the best life. Given the long history of that impasse, it seems futile to offer yet another candidate for the genus “good life” as if that candidate might be new, or philosophically defensible. And given the weariness, irony, and self-deprecation expected of a philosopher in such an impasse, it is difficult for any substantive proposal on this topic to avoid seeming pretentious. (shrink)
Some ambiguities in the verb ‘to know’ are analyzed, and it is argued that “undefeatably justified true belief” is the meaning of most philosophical interest with respect to specifying truth conditions for ‘S knows that p’. Two general conditions for an adequate definition of ‘S knows that p’ are discussed. Then a proposal for a quasi-causal theory of knowledge is introduced and defended.
This unpublished paper from 2004 argues that the agenda for positive psychology laid out by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman in their massive work Character Strengths and Virtues: a Handbook and Classification (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) might be improved by making several conceptual changes: 1) by developing general concepts of virtue (singular), and of positive health to clarify the relationships between specific virtues and competing conceptions of positive health; 2) by aligning the project more firmly with eudaimonistic accounts (...) of virtue that fit comfortably with scientific psychology; and 3) by aligning the project more firmly with the health sciences than with ethics and philosophy generally. The paper was developed from a talk prepared for the Working Conference on The Philosophical History of Character Strengths and Virtues, The University of Pennsylvania, September 2-4, 2004. (shrink)
For the philosophy of medicine, there are two things of interest about the stoic account of moral norms, quite apart from whether the rest of stoic ethical theory is compelling. One is the stoic version of naturalism: its account of practical reasoning, its solution to the is/ought problem, and its contention that norms for creating, sustaining, or restoring human health are tantamount to moral norms. The other is the stoic account of human agency: its description of the intimate connections between (...) human health, rational agency, and moral norms. There is practical guidance to be gained from exploring those connections, whether or not one is ready to follow stoic moral theory all the way to its austere end. (shrink)
Reissue of Becker's 1973 monograph, which argues the following: Much discussion of morality presupposes that moral judgments are always, at bottom, arbitrary. Moral scepticism, or at least moral relativism, has become common currency among the liberally educated. This remains the case even while political crises become intractable, and it is increasingly apparent that the scope of public policy formulated with no reference to moral justification is extremely limited. The thesis of _On Justifying Moral Judgments_ insists, on the contrary, that rigorous (...) justifications are possible for moral judgments. Crucially, Becker argues for the coordination of the three main approaches to moral theory: axiology, deontology, and agent morality. A pluralistic account of the concept of value is expounded, and a solution to the problem of ultimate justification is suggested. Analyses of valuation, evaluation, the ‘is-ought’ issue, and the concepts of obligation, responsibility and the good person are all incorporated into the main line of argument. (shrink)