Retrospective rule-making has few supporters and many opponents. Defenders of retrospective laws generally do so on the basis that they are a necessary evil in specific or limited circumstances, for example to close tax loopholes, to deal with terrorists or to prosecute fallen tyrants. Yet the reality of retrospective rule making is far more widespread than this, and ranges from ’corrective’ legislation to ’interpretive regulations’ to judicial decision making. The search for a rational justification for retrospective rule-making necessitates a reconsideration (...) of the very nature of the rule of law and the kind of law that can rule, and will provide new insights into the nature of law and the parameters of societal order. This book examines the various ways in which laws may be seen as retrospective and analyses the problems in defining retrospectivity. In his analysis Dr Charles Sampford asserts that the definitive argument against retrospective rule-making is the expectation of individuals that, if their actions today are considered by a future court, the applicable law was discoverable at the time the action was performed. The book goes on to suggest that although the strength of this ’rule of law’ argument should prevail in general, exceptions are sometimes necessary, and that there may even be occasions when analysis of the rule of law may provide the foundation for the application of retrospective laws. (shrink)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, thinker, dramatist and controversialist of many-sided interests, is the most representative figure of the German Enlightenment. His defence of Spinoza, who had traditionally been condemned as an atheist, provoked a major controversy in philosophy, and his publication of H. S. Reimarus' radical assault on Christianity led to fundamental changes in Protestant theology. This volume presents the most comprehensive collection to date in English of Lessing's philosophical and theological writings, several of which are here translated for the first (...) time. They are edited and translated by H. B. Nisbet, who also provides an introduction that sets them in their historical and philosophical contexts. (shrink)
Does the real difference between non-consequentialist and consequentialist theories lie in their approach to value? Non-consequentialist theories are thought either to allow a different kind of value (namely, agent-relative value) or to advocate a different response to value ('honouring' rather than 'promoting'). One objection to this idea implies that all normative theories are describable as consequentialist. But then the distinction between honouring and promoting collapses into the distinction between relative and neutral value. A proper description of non-consequentialist theories can only (...) be achieved by including a distinction between temporal relativity and neutrality in addition to the distinction between agent-relativity and agent-neutrality. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether predictions of wrongdoing are relevant to our moral obligations. After giving an analysis of ‘won’t’ claims (i.e., claims that an agent won’t Φ), the question is separated into two different issues: firstly, whether predictions of wrongdoing affect our objective moral obligations, and secondly, whether self-prediction of wrongdoing can be legitimately used in moral deliberation. I argue for an affirmative answer to both questions, although there are conditions that must be met for self-prediction to (...) be appropriate in deliberation. The discussion illuminates an interesting and significant tension between agency and prediction. (shrink)
The concepts of community participation, empowerment and capacity building are central tenets of contemporary health promotion theory. They reflect the view that health and well-being are shaped by a wide range of social, economic, political and organisational forces that are outside the control of individuals. Despite its theoretical appeal, the practice of Community Empowerment is ethically contentious and can produce ethical dilemmas for health promotion practitioners. In this paper we relate these dilemmas to theoretical considerations, and argue that the empowerment (...) of communities should be understood as a means rather than an end . This leads us to argue for the adoption of what we call a Reflective Equilibrium Community Empowerment approach, which draws on both "top—down" and "bottom—up" methods to help resolve the ethical tensions in health promotion programmes. (shrink)
BackgroundThe global expansion of biobanks has led to a range of bioethical concerns related to consent, privacy, control, ownership, and disclosure. As an opportunity to engage broader audiences on these concerns, bioethicists have welcomed the commercial success of Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 bestselling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. To assess the impact of the book on discussion within the media and popular culture more generally, we systematically analyzed the ethics-related themes emphasized in reviews and articles about the book, and (...) in interviews and profiles of Skloot.MethodsWe conducted a content analysis of a population of relevant English-language articles and transcripts (n = 125) produced by news organizations and publications in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain/Ireland, and Australia/New Zealand. We scored each article for the emphasis and appearance of 9 ethics-related themes. These were informed consent, welfare of the vulnerable, compensation, scientific progress, control/access, accountability/oversight, privacy, public education, and advocacy.ResultsThe informed consent theme dominated media discussion, with almost 39.2 percent of articles/transcripts featuring the theme as a major focus and 44.8 percent emphasizing the theme as a minor focus. Other prominent themes and frames of reference focused on the welfare of the vulnerable (18.4 percent major emphasis; 36.0 percent minor emphasis), and donor compensation (19.2 percent major; 52.8 percent minor). Ethical themes that comprised a second tier of prominence included those of scientific progress, control/access, and accountability/oversight. The least prominent themes were privacy, public education, and advocacy.ConclusionsThe book has been praised as an opportunity to elevate media discussion of bioethics, but such claims should be re-considered. The relatively narrow focus on informed consent in the media discussion generated by Skloot’s book may limit the ability of ethicists and advocates to elevate attention to donor control, compensation, patenting, privacy, and other ethical issues. Still, ethicists should view the book and a pending major TV film translation as opportunities to highlight through media outreach, consultation exercises and public forums a broader range of bioethical concerns that would otherwise be under-emphasized in news coverage. Such efforts, however, need to be carefully planned and evaluated. (shrink)
This anthology, part of a three-volume series of which the other two volumes are already available, charts the emergence of aesthetics in Germany in the latter half of the eighteenth century as a distinct discipline emancipated from French domination. The unifying theme of the volume is classicism: Winckelmann's neo-classicism was based on a profound knowledge of the visual art of Greece and Rome; Lessing's Laocoon extended Winckelmann's principles to literature; Herder and Schiller, by contrast, went on to define and defend (...) modern post-classical works of art as distinct but equally justified cultural achievements, while Hamann's attack on rational poetics together with the young Herder's pre-Romanticism anticipated central doctrines of the Romantic movement proper; the final essay is Goethe's study of Winckelmann. (shrink)
Dewey's ideas were slower to be accepted in Britain than elsewhere. Reasonsfor this are considered under four headings: pedagogical, epistemological,social and political. Of these, only the pedagogical ideas elicited a modicumof support in the first half of the century. Developments after 1960,however, led to widespread implementation of Dewey's principles mainly inthe primary education sector.