Civil libertarians characterize prostitution as a "victimless crime," and argue that it ought to be legalized. Feminist critics counter that prostitution is not victimless, since it harms the people who do it. Civil libertarians respond that most women freely choose to do this work, and that it is paternalistic for the government to limit a person's liberty for her own good. In this book Peter de Marneffe argues that although most prostitution is voluntary, paternalistic prostitution laws in some form are (...) nonetheless morally justifiable. If prostitution is commonly harmful in the way that feminist critics maintain, then this argument for prostitution laws is not objectionably moralistic and some prostitution laws violate no one's rights. Paternalistic prostitution laws in some form are therefore consistent with the fundamental principles of contemporary liberalism. (shrink)
In the United States today, the use or possession of many drugs is a criminal offense. Can these criminal laws be justified? What are the best reasons to punish or not to punish drug users? These are the fundamental issues debated in this book by two prominent philosophers of law. Douglas Husak argues in favor of drug decriminalization, by clarifying the meaning of crucial terms, such as legalize, decriminalize, and drugs; and by identifying the standards by which alternative drug policies (...) should be assessed. He critically examines the reasons typically offered in favor of our current approach and explains why decriminalization is preferable. Peter de Marneffe argues against drug legalization, demonstrating why drug prohibition, especially the prohibition of heroin, is necessary to protect young people from self-destructive drug use. If the empirical assumptions of this argument are sound, he reasons, drug prohibition is perfectly compatible with our rights to liberty. (shrink)
There is an important moral difference between laws that criminalize drugs and prostitution and laws that make them illegal in other ways: criminalization violates our moral rights in a way that nonlegalization does not. Criminalization is defined as follows. Drugs are criminalized when there are criminal penalties for using or possessing small quantities of drugs. Prostitution is criminalized when there are criminal penalties for selling sex. Legalization is defined as follows. Drugs are legalized when there are no criminal penalties for (...) manufacturing, selling and possessing large quantities of drugs. Prostitution is legalized when there are no criminal penalties for owning or operating a brothel or escort service, no criminal penalties for working as a paid agent for sex work, and no criminal penalties for paying someone for sex who is above the age of legal employment and sexual consent. The criminalization of drugs and prostitution violate the right of self-sovereignty in depriving individuals of important forms of control over their own minds and bodies, but nonlegalization does not violate this right. It is therefore consistent, as a matter of principle, to advocate decriminalization but to oppose legalization. (shrink)
This article argues that attitudinal hedonism is false as atheory of what is intrinsically good for us because it impliesthat nothing is intrinsically good for someone who does nothave the psychological capacity for the propositional attitudeof enjoyment even if he has other important mental capacitiesthat humans have.
This article argues that attitudinal hedonism is false as a theory of what is intrinsically good for us because it implies that nothing is intrinsically good for someone who does not have the psychological capacity for the propositional attitude of enjoyment even if he has other important mental capacities that humans have.
Scanlon's distinction between well-being and other personal values cannot be made out clearly if well-being is understood, as it commonly is, to consist in whatever is intrinsically good for a person. Two other accounts of well-being, however, might be able to explain this distinction. One is a version of the rational care view proposed by Stephen Darwall; another is a rational sympathy view suggested by some of Brad Hooker's work.
Hart argues persuasively that majority disapproval cannot justify the government in prohibiting a form of sexual conduct, but he does not address the possibility that the intrinsic badness of a sex act might justify the government in prohibiting it. This article explains within a contractualist framework why the intrinsic badness of a sex act cannot justify the restriction of any important sexual freedom.