The 1992 incorporation of an article by referendum in the SwissConstitution mandating that the federal government issue regulations onthe use of genetic material that take into account the dignity ofnonhuman organism raises philosophical questions about how we shouldunderstand what is meant by ``the dignity of nonhuman animals,'' andabout what sort of moral demands arise from recognizing this dignitywith respect to their genetic engineering. The first step in determiningwhat is meant is to clarify the difference between dignity when appliedto humans and (...) when applied to nonhumans. Several conceptions of humandignity should be rejected in favor of a fourth conception: the rightnot to be degraded. This right implies that those who have it have thecognitive capacities that are prerequisite for self-respect. In the caseof nonhuman organisms that lack this capacity, respecting their dignityrequires the recognition that their inherent value, which is tied totheir abilities to pursue their own good, be respected. This value isnot absolute, as it is in the case of humans, so it does not prohibitbreeding manipulations that make organisms more useful to humans. But itdoes restrict morally how sentient animals can be used. In regard togenetic engineering, this conception requires that animals be allowedthe uninhibited development of species specific functions, a positionshared by Holland and Attfield, as opposed to the Original Purposeconception proposed by Fox and the Integrity of the Genetic Make-upposition proposed by Rolston. The inherent value conception of dignity,as here defended, is what is meant in the Swiss Constitution article. (shrink)
The so-called resource curse raises moral issues. Who, if anyone, is morally responsible for it? This article argues that this question amounts to: who is blameworthy for the violations of people's property rights? The international oil companies are blameworthy for the violations of property rights only in the case of complicity, not in the normal purchase case. Yet the international community has to take action against massive violations of property rights. The article discusses different measures, and criticizes voluntary initiatives such (...) as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for not making the states accountable to their people. In this line of thought, it argues for an extension of the mandate of the International Criminal Court: massive violations of property rights should be prosecuted at the international level. (shrink)
According to Doris Schroeder, the view that human rights derive from human dignity should be rejected. She thinks that this is the case for three different reasons: the first has to do with the fact that the dominant concept of dignity is based on religious beliefs which will do no justificatory work in a secular society; the second is that the dominant secular view of dignity, which is the Kantian view, does not provide us with a justification of human rights, (...) i.e. rights all humans have; and the third reason has to do with the fact that dignity is understood in too many different ways to provide us with a justification of human rights. It is argued in this paper that none of these reasons for separating human rights from human dignity is convincing. It is true, it will be argued, that some accounts of dignity will not be successful in justifying human rights. But there is no reason to assume that no account of human dignity is capable of doing this. In the final part of the paper a concept of human dignity is presented that could indeed provide us with a justificatory basis for human rights. (shrink)
Es geht in diesem Aufsatz um die Frage, was es heißt, eine andere Person zu achten. Im Zentrum steht dabei die moralische Achtung, nicht die Achtung im Sinne der Wertschätzung einer anderen Person. Ein wohlfahrts- und ein autonomietheoretisches Verständnis moralischer Achtung werden dargestellt und zurückgewiesen. Es wird für ein Verständnis moralischer Achtung argumentiert, wonach eine Person genau dann geachtet wird, wenn ihr authentischer Wille ernst genommen wird. Die Achtung schulden wir dabei der Würde der Person. Achtung vor der Würde der (...) Person ist Achtung vor dem, was die Selbstachtung von Personen ermöglicht. Die Würde von Personen ist unantastbar sowohl in der anderen wie auch in der eigenen Person. Der authentische Wille von Personen darf entsprechend bloß dann geachtet werden, wenn er mit dieser Würde sich verträgt. (shrink)
Bittner argues in his paper that the idea of a general duty to respect persons is of much less importance than some moral philosophers think. If respect plays a role in our lives it is mainly appriciation respect persons have to merit. Respecting persons as such is, Bittner thinks, not just irrelevant, but also incompatibel with personal relations. Against this it is argued that respect for persons should be seen as the basic moral duty we have towards persons. And in (...) addition, it is argued, that you can only be a proper friend of someone, if the relation to her or him is based on moral respect. (shrink)
Are the values of different options and goods, as cost-benefit analysis assumes, commensurable? Not always. The incommensurability of certain options is based on the fact that preferences are sometimes not rankable, even if the agent is fully informed about the options in question. In addition, even if all values were commensurable they could not be compared in monetary terms. If this is the case, cost-benefit analysis should not be seen as a decision procedure.
The paper deals with the question of whether poverty as such violates the dignity of persons. It is argued that it does. This is, it is argued, not due to a lack of basic goods, nor to the fact that poverty prevents persons from enjoying the rights they have, particularly the right to bodily integrity. Poverty does violate dignity, so it is argued, insofar as poor people are dependent on others in a degrading way.
It is a widely held view in moral philosophy that reasons for action are based on desires. This view should be rejected. Reasons for action are never provided by desires. Desires provide us with motives, whereas reasons for action are based on valuable facts which obtain independently of our desires. The recognition of these reasons does not necessarily motivate us. Motives depend on desires, for instance the motive for moral actions on the desire to do the morally right thing.