Applied or practical ethics is perhaps the largest growth area in philosophy today, and many issues in moral, social, and political life have come under philosophical scrutiny in recent years. Taken together, the essays in this volume – including two overview essays on theories of ethics and the nature of applied ethics – provide a state-of-the-art account of the most pressing moral questions facing us today. Provides a comprehensive guide to many of the most significant problems of practical ethics Offers (...) state-of-the-art accounts of issues in medical, environmental, legal, social, and business ethics Written by major philosophers presently engaged with these complex and profound ethical issues. (shrink)
The moral issues involved in doctors assisting patients to die with dignity are of absolutely central concern to the medical profession, ethicists, and the public at large. The debate is fuelled by cases that extend far beyond passive euthanasia to the active consideration of killing by physicians. The need for a sophisticated but lucid exposition of the two sides of the argument is now urgent. This book supplies that need. Two prominent philosophers, Gerald Dworkin and R. G. Frey present the (...) case for legalization of physician-assisted suicide. One of the best-known ethicists in the US, Sissela Bok, argues the case against. (shrink)
If one wishes to accept that some painful animal experimentation can be justified on grounds that benefit is conferred, one is faced with a difficult moral dilemma argues the first author, a philosopher. Either one needs to be able to say why human lives of any quality however low should be inviolable from painful experimentation when animal lives are not; or one should accept that sufficient benefit can justify certain painful experiments on human beings of sufficiently low quality of life. (...) Alternatively, one can reject the original premise and accept antivivisectionism. Replies to his paper follow from an antivivisectionist philosopher and an eminent pharmacologist long involved in animal experimentation. Dr Frey responds to both replies. (shrink)
It is rarely, if at all, thought that Socrates committed suicide; but such was the case, or so I want to suggest. My suggestion turns not upon any new interpretation of ancient sources but rather upon seeking a determination of the concept of suicide itself.
In Anglo-American society, virtually every moral theory of any note, including any plausible form of utilitarianism, places great stress upon autonomy, treats it as intimately bound up with morality, and regards it as of considerable moral significance to normal adult humans and to the value of their lives. In these respects, Kantianisms, contracturalisms, rightstheories, and utilitarianisms are very alike. They are also alike in that their emphasis upon autonomy inevitably sets up fully autonomous beings as something of a special or (...) privileged class, against which the lives of nonautonomous beings, such as infants, the very severely mentally-enfeebled, the seriously brain-damaged, the irreversibly comatose, and animals are viewed and their value assessed. The attempts theorists of all stripes make to squeeze as many beings as possible into the autonomous class illustrate the special or privileged caracter of that class in our moral thinking. (shrink)
My interest is in two of the four conditions which must be satisfied if the doctrine of double effect is to be successfully employed. One of these involves the distinction between direct and oblique intention, And I deny that this distinction is the index of character or goodness adherents to the doctrine take it to be. Rather, I emphasize the notion of "control responsibility", In considering several cases around which discussion of the doctrine has focused. I develop this notion, In (...) the course of rejecting several attempts to render it superfluous, And then sustain it, In the face of a possible rival. Finally, I consider a second condition of the doctrine, One which turns upon the view that the order of causation between an evil and a good effect of an act is morally significant, And I suggest that this view is mistaken. (shrink)
An alleged moral right to informational privacy assumes that we should have control over information about ourselves. What is the philosophical justification for this control? I think that one prevalent answer to this question—an answer that has to do with the justification of negative rights generally—will not do.
The invocation of moral rights in moral/social debate today is a recipe for deadlock in our consideration of substantive issues. How we treat animals and humans in part should derive from the value of their lives, which is a function of the quality of their lives, which in turn is a function of the richness of their lives. Consistency in argument requires that humans with a low quality of life should be chosen as experimental subjects over animals with a higher (...) quality of life. (shrink)
Humans encounter and use animals in a stunning number of ways. The nature of these animals and the justifiability or unjustifiabilitly of human uses of them are the subject matter of this volume.Philosophers have long been intrigued by animal minds and vegetarianism, but only around the last quarter of the twentieth century did a significant philosophical literature begin to be developed on both the scientific study of animals and the ethics of human uses of animals. This literature had a primary (...) focus on discussion of animal psychology, the moral status of animals, the nature and significance of species, and a number of practical problems. This Oxford Handbook is designed to capture the nature of the questions as they stand today and to propose solutions to many of the major problems. Several chapters in this volume explore matters that have never previously been examined by philosophers.The authors of the thirty-five chapters come from a diverse set of philosophical interests in the History of Philosophy, the Philosophy of Mind, the Philosophy of Biology, the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, the Philosophy of Language, Ethical Theory, and Practical Ethics. They explore many theoretical issues about animal minds and an array of practical concerns about animal products, farm animals, hunting, circuses, zoos, the entertainment industry, safety-testing on animals, the status and moral significance of species, environmental ethics, the nature and significance of the minds of animals, and so on. They also investigate what the future may be expected to bring in the way of new scientific developments and new moral problems.This book of original essays is the most comprehensive single volume ever published on animal minds and the ethics of our use of animals. (shrink)
In his paper "rights" ("the philosophical quarterly", Volume 15, 1965, Pages 115-127), H j mccloskey maintains that only beings who can possess interests can possess rights; and he goes on to argue that animals cannot satisfy this requirement. In his paper "mccloskey on why animals cannot have rights" ("the philosophical quarterly", Volume 26, 1976, Pages 251-257), Tom regan disputes mccloskey's requirement. First, He queries whether mccloskey's "is" a requirement for the possession of rights; second, He tries to show that animals (...) can nevertheless satisfy it. On both counts, I contend that regan's arguments do not work. I also set out a mccloskey-Like position which is not open to regan's attack upon its legitimacy. I conclude with an example designed to show why regan has failed to establish that animals have interests. (shrink)
We live in an age of great scientific and technological innovation, and what seemed out of the question or at least very doubtful only a few years ago, today lies almost within our grasp. In no area is this more true than that of human health care, where lifesaving and life-enhancing technologies have given, or have the enormous potential in the not so distant future to give, relief from some of the most terrible human illnesses. On two fronts in particular, (...) xenograft or cross-species transplantation and genetic engineering of animals on behalf of gene therapy in humans, such relief appears very promising, if not actually on the horizon. Certainly, extensive research work on both fronts is underway both in the United States and abroad. (shrink)
The most common view of suicide today is that it is intentional self-killing.1 Because of the self-killing component, suicide is often described as self-inflicted death or as dying by one's own hand, and the victim is in turn often described as having done himself to death or as having taken his own life. But must one's death be self-inflicted in order to be suicide? The answer, I want to suggest, is arguably no.
The most common view of suicide today is that it is intentional self-killing. 1 Because of the self-killing component, suicide is often described as self-inflicted death or as dying by one's own hand, and the victim is in turn often described as having done himself to death or as having taken his own life. But must one's death be self-inflicted in order to be suicide? The answer, I want to suggest, is arguably no.
Anyone interested in the morality of suicide reads David Hume's essay on the subject even today. There are numerous reasons for this, but the central one is that it sets up the starting point for contemporary debate about the morality of suicide, namely, the debate about whether some condition of life could present one with a morally acceptable reason for autonomously deciding to end one's life. We shall only be able to have this debate if we think that at least (...) some acts of suicide can be moral, and we shall only be able to think this if we give up the blanket condemnation of suicide that theology has put in place. I look at this strategy of argument in the context of the wider eighteenth-century attempt to develop a non-theologically based ethic. The result in Hume's case is a very modern tract on suicide, with voluntariness and autonomy to the fore and with reflection on the condition of one's life and one's desire to carry on living a life in that condition the motivating circumstance. (shrink)
This book addresses critical issues in normative ethical theory. Every such theory must contain not only a theory of motivation but also a theory of value, and the link that is often forged between what is valuable and what would be right is human welfare or well-being. This topic is a subject of considerable controversy in contemporary ethics, not least because of the current reconsideration of utilitarianism. Indeed, there is as much disagreement about the nature of value and its relationship (...) to welfare and morality, as there is about the substantive content of normative ethical theories. The essays in this collection, all written by a distinguished team of moral philosophers, provide an overview, analysis and an attempted resolution of those controversies. They constitute a rigorous account of the relationships among value, welfare and morality. (shrink)
A frequent objection to act-Utilitarianism is that, Because the consequences of acts extend indefinitely into the future, I cannot put the theory into practice, By trying to decide on its basis what it would be right to do in this case. I reinforce this unworkability argument with an argument designed to show that our ignorance of acts' total actual consequences, At least in the case of a great many acts, Stems not merely from remoteness in the causal and/or temporal orders (...) but also from the "kinds" of consequences which go to comprise acts' total actual consequences. (shrink)
This volume contains thirteen new essays covering various issues in value theory. Eight of the essays were presented at a conference by the same name at Bowling Green State University, five others were commissioned. The essays vary in quality, and some of them cover themes developed in previously published work. But overall, each essay provides a carefully argued point of view on an important issue.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Hume Studies Volume XXI, Number 2, November 1995, pp. 275-287 Virtue, Commerce, and Self-Love R. G. FREY Can economic activity be virtuous? Can the pursuit of commerce and profits be moral? Both Hume and Adam Smith are agreed that Britain will live or die as a trading nation, and trade requires the harvesting or production of goods with which to trade. This in turn requires that people be motivated (...) to harvest or to produce these goods, and neither Hume nor Smith give any evidence of believing that people are motivated by a general love of mankind, an extensive sympathy, or a broadly-encompassing benevolence to produce them. Indeed, quite the opposite appears to be the case: both writers think the pursuit of luxury, wealth, and the general riches of life have much more to do with the harvesting and production of goods for trade than does any widespread, general concern for the well-being of others. And this fact leads straightforwardly to the question I want to consider, namely, whether this kind of what I shall call economic motivation is compatible with moral motivation.1 In Smith, our question can be seen as leading to what is sometimes called the "Adam Smith problem" (which on another occasion I should want to argue is a pseudo-problem). The Theory of Moral Sentiments gives an account of moral motivation in which sympathy and/or benevolence plays an integral role, whereas in The Wealth of Nations self-love is very much to the fore. No remark in Smith is better-known than his statement of this latter position: R. G. Frey is at the Department of Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, 305 Shatzel Hall, Bowling Green OH 43403-0222 USA. e-mail: [email protected] 276 R. G. Frey It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.2 Now it has sometimes been suggested that the way to solve this problem is to keep economics and ethics separate, to try to confine economic activity to a domain about which, in essence, we do not ask ethical questions. But to most of us this clearly will not do; the whole point is that we do want to ask ethical questions about economic activity. That is, in pursuing their trades, it must be possible for the butcher, brewer, and baker to be acting morally; otherwise, commerce and virtue will be incompatible, and in enjoining us to take up and to pursue the former vigorously Hume and Smith would be advocating immorality. Again, neither writer gives any evidence of taking himself to be advocating any such thing. It must be possible, then, for motivation by selflove to be moral, if a vibrant, prosperous nation is to result from and to propagate further commerce and trade. If the cost of morality is penury and a life of dreadful unhappiness, then while such a life may recommend itself to one consumed with the monkish virtues, it is far from clear that it would recommend itself to the rest of us. I am interested here in Hume and in one possible way of construing his remarks on self-love in An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.3 But first a few words on Mandeville are necessary, since it is he who sets the terms of the debate over the compatibility of moral and economic motivation. In The Fable of the Bees,4 Mandeville praises vice (or the pursuit of selfinterest ) in the cause of national prosperity and castigates virtue as threatening to undermine prosperity. Employing an egoistic account of man's passions and motivation, he argues that individual pursuit of self-interest or vice produces public benefits. Pride, avarice, and the pursuit of enjoyment, luxury, and the fine things of life create economic activity, jobs, and economic and social opportunities, and these in turn benefit society. His point is that growth of (i) mutually beneficial economic activity, (ii) increases in general... (shrink)
In Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, Bernard Williams is rather severe on what he thinks of as an ethics of obligation. He has in mind by this Kant and W. D. Ross. For many, obligation seems the very core of ethics and the moral realm, and lives more generally are seen through the prism of this notion. This, according to Williams, flattens out our lives and moral experience and fails to take into account things which are obviously important to (...) our lives. Once we take these things into account, what do we do if they come into conflict with some of our moral obligations, as Williams, in his earlier writings on moral luck, thought to be the case. I want here to explore some of these ideas, in a way that I think harmonious with Williams's general bent though not one that I intend as in any way detailed exegesis of Williams's work. (shrink)
This collection of contemporary essays by a group of well-known philosophers and legal theorists covers various topics in the philosophy of law, focusing on issues concerning liability in contract, tort and criminal law. The book is divided into four sections. The first provides a conceptual overview of the issues at stake in a philosophical discussion of liability and responsibility. The second, third and fourth sections present, in turn, more detailed explorations of the roles of notions of liability and responsibility in (...) contracts, torts and punishment. The collection not only presents some of the most challenging work in legal philosophy, but it also demonstrates the interdisciplinary character of the field of philosophy of law, with contributors taking into account recent developments in economics, political science and rational choice theory. This thought-provoking volume will help to shed light on the underexplored ground that lies between law and morals. (shrink)