Transplantation continues to push the frontiers of medicine into domains that summon forth troublesome ethical questions. Looming on the frontier today is human facial transplantation. We develop criteria that, we maintain, must be satisfied in order to ethically undertake this as-yet-untried transplant procedure. We draw on the criteria advanced by Dr. Francis Moore in the late 1980s for introducing innovative procedures in transplant surgery. In addition to these we also insist that human face transplantation must meet all the ethical requirements (...) usually applied to health care research. We summarize the achievements of transplant surgery to date, focusing in particular on the safety and efficacy of immunosuppressive medications. We also emphasize the importance of risk/benefit assessments that take into account the physical, aesthetic, psychological, and social dimensions of facial disfiguration, reconstruction, and transplantation. Finally, we maintain that the time has come to move facial transplantation research into the clinical phase. (shrink)
Via the existential questioning outlook supplied by the Grasshopper’s three visions as relevant to the fate of humankind – oblivion, delusion, and really magnificent games – this article seeks to alleviate some of the ambiguity surrounding Bernard Suits’ provocative claim that Utopian existence is fundamentally concerned with game-playing. Specifically, after proposing an interpretation of Suits’ parable designed to enrich the logical intelligibility of his Utopian thesis, I advance the suggestion that the Grasshopper’s picture of people playing really magnificent games is (...) reasonably interpreted as a clue that the philosopher’s quest to discern games worthy of a Utopian might very well be that which saves humanity from the desolate oblivion-delusion paradox erected as a consequence of the initial two visions. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss the epistemological positions of evolution theories. A sharp distinction is made between the theory that species evolved from common ancestors along specified lines of descent (here called the theory of common descent), and the theories intended as causal explanations of evolution (e.g. Lamarck's and Darwin's theory). The theory of common descent permits a large number of predictions of new results that would be improbable without evolution. For instance, (a) phylogenetic trees have been validated now; (b) (...) the observed order in fossils of new species discovered since Darwin's time could be predicted from the theory of common descent; (c) owing to the theory of common descent, the degrees of similarity and difference in newly discovered properties of more or less related species could be predicted. Such observations can be regarded as attempts to falsify the theory of common descent. We conclude that the theory of common descent is an easily-falsifiable & often-tested & still-not-falsified theory, which is the strongest predicate a theory in an empirical science can obtain. Theories intended as causal explanations of evolution can be falsified essentially, and Lamarck's theory has been falsified actually. Several elements of Darwin's theory have been modified or falsified: new versions of a theory of evolution by natural selection are now the leading scientific theories on evolution. We have argued that the theory of common descent and Darwinism are ordinary, falsifiable scientific theories. (shrink)
This article asks whether states have a right to close their borders because of their right to self-determination, as proposed recently by Christopher Wellman, Michael Walzer, and others. It asks the fundamental question whether self-determination can, in even its most unrestricted form, support the exclusion of immigrants. I argue that the answer is no. To show this, I construct three different ways in which one might use the idea of self-determination to justify immigration restrictions and show that each of these (...) arguments fails. My conclusion is that the nature and value of self-determination have to do with the conditions of genuine self-government, not membership of political society. Consequently, the demand for open borders is fully consistent with respect to self-determination. (shrink)
The idea that law claims authority (LCA) has recently been forcefully criticized by a number of authors. These authors present a new and intriguing objection, arguing that law cannot be said to claim authority if such a claim is not justified. That is, these authors argue that the view that law does not have authority viciously conflicts with the view that law claims authority. I will call this the normative critique of LCA. In this article, I assess the normative critique (...) of LCA, focusing predominantly on the arguments presented by its most incisive proponent Philip Soper. I defend a twofold conclusion. First, LCA, understood roughly along the lines put forward by Joseph Raz, is part of the most attractive analysis of law. Second, proponents of the normative critique, and in particular Soper, are committed to accepting LCA. (shrink)
Most treatments of territorial rights include a discussion (and rejection) of Locke. There is a remarkable consensus about what Locke’s views were. For him, states obtain territorial rights as the result of partial transfers of people’s property rights. In this article, I reject this reading. I argue that (a) for Locke, transfers of property rights were neither necessary nor sufficient for territorial rights and that (b) Locke in fact held a two-part theory of territorial rights. I support this reading by (...) appealing to textual and contextual evidence. I conclude by drawing a lesson from Locke’s views for current debates on territorial rights. (shrink)
I here defend historical entitlement theories of property rights against a popular charge. This is the objection that such theories fail because no convincing account of original appropriation exists. I argue that this argument assumes a certain reading of historical entitlement theory and I spell out an alternative reading against which it misfires. On this reading, the role of acts of original appropriation is not to justify but to individuate people’s holdings. I argue that we can identify which acts count (...) as original appropriation against the background of a general justification for a practice of property rights. On this view, what I will call ‘natural’ acts of original appropriation are acts by which a person begins to satisfy the general conditions for justified ownership. Finally, I offer an interpretation of John Locke's theory of appropriation along these lines and argue that it provides an attractive reading of his view. (shrink)
State legitimacy is often said to have two aspects: an internal and an external one. Internally, a legitimate state has the right to rule over its subjects. Externally, it has a right that outsiders not interfere with its domestic governance. But what is the relation between these two aspects? In this paper, I defend a conception of legitimacy according to which these two aspects are related in an importantly asymmetrical manner. In particular, a legitimate state’s external right to rule affords (...) it protections that include and go beyond what its internal right to rule enables it to do. This asymmetrical view, I argue, is preferable to its two main rivals: the view that a state’s internal and external legitimacy are separate issues, and the view that internal and external legitimacy are mirroring. (shrink)
In this paper I respond to Bernd Krehoff’s article ‘Legitimate Political Authority and Sovereignty: Why States Cannot Be the Whole Story’. I criticize Krehoff’s use of Raz’s theory of authority to evaluate the legitimacy of our political institutions. Krehoff argues that states cannot (always) claim exclusive authority and therefore cannot possess exclusive legitimacy. Although I agree with his conclusion, I argue that the questions of legitimacy and (Razian) authority are distinct and that we need to focus more on the former (...) in order to really support and defend Krehoff’s conclusions. (shrink)
This article aims to provide some insight into the nature and content of the theory of associative political obligation. It does this by first locating the view in the wider debate on political obligation, analyzing the view in terms of four central elements that are shared by many of its versions, and then discussing important criticisms that have been made of each of these, as well as some rejoinders by defenders of the theory.
Many political theorists, philosophers, social scientists, and other academics engage in political activism. And many think this is how things ought to be. In this essay, I challenge the ideal of the politically engaged academic. I argue that, quite to the contrary, political theorists, philosophers, and other political thinkers have a prima facie duty to refrain from political activism. This argument is based on a commonsense moral principle, a claim about the point of political thought, and findings in cognitive psychology.
In The Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia, Suits maintains the following two theses: game-playing is defined as ‘activity directed towards bringing about a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by rules, where the rules prohibit more efficient in favour of less efficient means, and where such rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity’ and ‘game playing is what makes Utopia intelligible.’ Observing that these two theses cannot be jointly maintained absent paradox, this essay explores the (...) logical possibility that if is true, then must be false. More specifically, in the tradition of conceptual analysis it is argued that Suits’ definition of game-playing is too narrow inasmuch as it excludes really magnificent Utopian games of significance. (shrink)
This article adopts the framework set out in ‘Associative Political Obligations’ to ask two further questions about the theory of associative political obligation. (i) Which of the different interpretations of the theory of associative political obligation is most plausible? And (ii) what would be the implications of such a view? It is argued that (i) the most attractive version of the argument is one according to which such obligations obtain only in morally acceptable communities, and only between what may be (...) called ‘thick’ members. And (ii) that such a theory should give up on at least some of the conclusions that associativist theorists have tried to defend, such as that associative political obligations can establish the legitimacy of states. However, it is also suggested that this should not be considered a regrettable retreat. (shrink)
Libertarians often bill their theory as an alternative to both the traditional Left and Right. _The Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism_ helps readers fully examine this alternative, without preaching it to them, exploring the contours of libertarian thinking on justice, institutions, interpersonal ethics, government, and political economy. The 31 chapters--all written specifically for this volume--are organized into five parts. Part I asks, what should libertarianism learn from other theories of justice, and what should defenders of other theories of justice learn from (...) libertarianism? Part II asks, what are some of the deepest problems facing libertarian theories? Part III asks, what is the right way to think about property rights and the market? Part IV asks, how should we think about the state? Finally, part V asks, how well can libertarianism deal with some of the major policy challenges of our day, such as immigration, trade, religion in politics, and paternalism in a free market. Among the _Handbook_’s chapters are those from critics who write about what they believe libertarians get right as well as others from leading libertarian theorists who identify what they think libertarians get wrong. As a whole, the _Handbook_ provides a comprehensive, clear-eyed look at what libertarianism has been and could be, and why it matters. (shrink)