The Hybrid View endorses utilitarianism about animals and rejects utilitarianism about humans. This view has received relatively little sustained attention in the philosophical literature. Yet, as we show, the Hybrid View underlies many widely held beliefs about zoos, pet ownership, scientific research on animal and human subjects, and agriculture. We develop the Hybrid View in rigorous detail and extract several of its main commitments. Then we examine the Hybrid View in relation to the view that human use of animals constitutes (...) a special relationship. We show that it is intuitively plausible that our use of animals alters our moral obligations to animals. That idea is widely believed to be incompatible with the sort of utilitarian approach in animal ethics that is prescribed by the Hybrid View. To overturn that conventional wisdom, we develop two different principles concerning the moral significance of human use of animals, which we call the Partiality Principle and the Strengthening Principle. We show that the Partiality Principle is consistent with several key commitments of the Hybrid View. And, strikingly, we show that the Strengthening Principle is fully consistent with all of the main commitments of the Hybrid View. Thus we establish the surprising result that utilitarians about animals can coherently offer a robust and intuitively appealing account of the moral significance of animal use. (shrink)
: Experiments involving the transplantation of human stem cells and their derivatives into early fetal or embryonic nonhuman animals raise novel ethical issues due to their possible implications for enhancing the moral status of the chimeric individual. Although status-enhancing research is not necessarily objectionable from the perspective of the chimeric individual, there are grounds for objecting to it in the conditions in which it is likely to occur. Translating this ethical conclusion into a policy recommendation, however, is complicated by the (...) fact that substantial empirical and ethical uncertainties remain about which transplants, if any, would significantly enhance the chimeric individual's moral status. Considerations of moral status justify either an early-termination policy on chimeric embryos, or, in the absence of such a policy, restrictions on the introduction of pluripotent human stem cells into early-stage developing animals, pending the resolution of those uncertainties. (shrink)
We explore the ethics of deliberately exposing consenting adults to SARS-CoV-2 to induce immunity to the virus (“DEI” for short). We explain what a responsible DEI program might look like. We explore a consequentialist argument for DEI according to which DEI is a viable harm-reduction strategy. Then we consider a non-consequentialist argument for DEI that draws on the moral significance of consent. Additionally, we consider arguments for the view that DEI is unethical on the grounds that, given that large-scale DEI (...) would be highly likely to result in some severe illnesses and deaths, DEI amounts to a form of killing. Our thesis is that incorporating a DEI program alongside the status-quo “calibrate-the-curve” responses could have significant advantages at the early stages of pandemics. These potential advantages mean that, at a minimum, research into DEI would have been justified early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and that DEI programs should be explored as potential additions to our overall approach to emerging pandemics in the future. (shrink)
Experiments involving the transplantation of human stem cells and their derivatives into early fetal or embryonic nonhuman animals raise novel ethical issues due to their possible implications for enhancing the moral status of the chimeric individual. Although status-enhancing research is not necessarily objectionable from the perspective of the chimeric individual, there are grounds for objecting to it in the conditions in which it is likely to occur. Translating this ethical conclusion into a policy recommendation, however, iscomplicated by the fact that (...) substantial empirical and ethical uncertainties remain about which transplants, if any, would significantly enhance the chimeric individual’s moral status. Considerations of moral status justify either an early-termination policy on chimeric embryos, or, in the absence of such a policy, restrictions on the introduction of pluripotent human stem cells into early-stage developing animals, pending the resolution of those uncertainties. (shrink)
This book provides a sophisticated analysis of various types of moral relativism, showing how arguments both for and against them fail to account for the basic intuitions such theories were inteded to address. Streiffer then constructs a compelling alternative model of reasons for acting which avoids the pitfalls of theories earlier discussed.
Moral status is the moral value that something has in its own right, independently of the interests or concerns of others. Research using human embryonic stem cells implicates issues about moral status because the current method of extracting hESCs involves the destruction of a human embryo, the moral status of which is contested. Moral status issues can also arise, however, when hESCs are transplanted into embryonic or fetal animals, thereby creating human/ nonhuman stem cell chimeras. In particular, one concern about (...) chimera research is that it could confer upon an animal the moral status of a normal human adult, but then impermissibly fail to accord the animal the protections it merits in virtue of its enhanced status. Understanding the public policy implications of this ethical conclusion is complicated by the fact that certain views about the moral status of the embryo cannot legitimately be used to justify public policy decisions. Arguments like those employed in the abortion debate for the conclusion that abortion should be legally permissible even if abortion is not morally permissible also support, to a more limited degree, a liberal policy on hESC research involving the creation of chimeras. (shrink)
Koplin and Wilkinson argue for the sociological claim that many believe that the moral uncertainty argument provides significant moral reasons against farming human–pig chimaeras for their organs but that there no are significant moral reasons against farming non-chimeric pigs for food. And yet, K&W argue for the ethical claim, that if the moral uncertainty argument provides significant moral reasons against farming for organs then there are similar moral reasons against farming for food. The moral uncertainty argument appears to be an (...) application of what I have called ‘the moral status framework’ to farming for organs.1–3 According to the moral status framework, human–animal chimaera research should be evaluated as to its risk of enhancing the moral status of an animal to that of a normal human while continuing to treat the animal as animals are usually treated in biomedical research.4 In status-enhancing research, ‘sacrificing the fundamental interests of the chimeric research subject as they would have been sacrificed in any other animal research is the moral equivalent of sacrificing the fundamental interests of a fully functional adult human being. On all but the most extreme animal rights views, this makes status-enhancing research much worse than other biomedical research on animals, and on any plausible view, makes it absolutely unacceptable’.5 K&W similarly say that, according to the moral uncertainty argument, ‘It would be gravely wrong to treat humans the same way we do animal …. (shrink)
This article is the lead piece in a special report that presents the results of a bioethical investigation into chimeric research, which involves the insertion of human cells into nonhuman animals and nonhuman animal embryos, including into their brains. Rapid scientific developments in this field may advance knowledge and could lead to new therapies for humans. They also reveal the conceptual, ethical, and procedural limitations of existing ethics guidance for human‐nonhuman chimeric research. Led by bioethics researchers working closely with an (...) interdisciplinary work group, the investigation focused on generating conceptual clarity and identifying improvements to governance approaches, with the goal of helping scholars, funders, scientists, institutional leaders, and oversight bodies (embryonic stem cell research oversight [ESCRO] committees and institutional animal care and use committees [IACUCs]) deliver principled and trustworthy oversight of this area of science. The article, which focuses on human‐nonhuman animal chimeric research that is stem cell based, identifies key ethical issues in and offers ten recommendations regarding the ethics and oversight of this research. Turning from bioethics’ previous focus on human‐centered questions about the ethics of “humanization” and this research's potential impact on concepts like human dignity, this article emphasizes the importance of nonhuman animal welfare concerns in chimeric research and argues for less‐siloed governance and oversight and more‐comprehensive public communication. (shrink)
Many people object to genetically engineerehd (GE) food because they believe that it is unnatural or that its creation amounts to playing God. These objections are often referred to as intrinsic objections, and they have been widely criticized in the agricultural bioethics literature as being unsound, incompatible with modern science, religious, inchoate, and based on emotion instead of reason. Many of their critics also argue that even if these objections did have some merit as ethicalobjections, their quasi-religious nature means that (...) they are entirely irrelevant when interpreted aspolitical objections regarding what public policy ought to be. In this paper, we argue that this widespread view is false. Intrinsic objections have much more political import than has previously been recognized, and indeed the requirements of political liberalism and its associated idea of liberal neutrality, once properly understood, protect intrinsic objections from many of the most common objections. That is, policy-makers may not legitimately base public policy on grounds that are inconsistent with intrinsic objections, even when they believe those objections to be flawed in the ways mentioned above. This means that in the context of a political debate about GE food, the discussion should not center on the substantive merits of the intrinsic objections themselves but rather on the appropriate political norms for achieving democratically legitimate policy on issues that touch people’s deepest religious and moral beliefs. (shrink)
In her recent article, Does autonomy count in favor of labeling genetically modified food?, Kirsten Hansen argues that in Europe, voluntary negative labeling of non-GM foods respects consumer autonomy just as well as mandatory positive labeling of foods with GM content. She also argues that because negative labeling places labeling costs upon those consumers that want to know whether food is GM, negative labeling is better policy than positive labeling. In this paper, we argue that Hansens arguments are mistaken in (...) several respects. Most importantly, she underestimates the demands of respecting autonomy and overestimates the cost of positive labeling. Moreover, she mistakenly implies that only a small minority of people desire information about GM content. We also explore the extent to which her arguments would apply to the US context, and argue that any discussion of the relationship between autonomy and labeling should include not just considerations of consumer autonomy but also considerations of what we call citizen autonomy. (shrink)
We distinguish two conceptions of confinement – the agential conception and the comparative conception – and show that the former is intimately related to use in a way that the latter is not. Specifically, in certain conditions, agential confinement constitutes use and creates a special relationship that makes neglect or abuse especially egregious. This allows us to develop and defend an account of one important way in which agential confinement can be morally wrong. We then discuss some of the account’s (...) practical implications, including its usefulness for decision-making in real-world contexts in which animals are confined. (shrink)
A review of the consent forms signed by those who donated embryos for the NIH-approved embryonic stem cell lines reveals several problems, providing ethical as well as scientific reasons to overturn the Bush administration’s restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research.
The current debate about labeling genetically engineered (GE) food focuses on food derived from GE crops, neglecting food derived from GE animals. This is not surprising, as GE animal products have not yet reached the market. Participants in the debate may also be assuming that conclusions about GE crops automatically extend to GE animals. But there are two GE animals - the Enviropig and the AquAdvantage Bred salmon - that are approaching the market, animals raise more ethical issues than plants, (...) and U.S. regulations treat animal products differently from crops. This paper therefore examines the specific question of whether there should be mandatory labeling on all food products derived from GE animals. We examine the likely regulatory pathways, salient differences between GE animals and GE crops, and relevant social science research on consumers’ attitudes. We argue that on any of the likely pathways, the relevant agency has a democratic obligation to require labeling for all GE animal food products. (shrink)
The distinctive feature of a hybrid view (such as Nozick’s “utilitarianism for animals, Kantianism for people”) is that it divides moral patients into two classes: call them dersons and uersons. Dersons have a deontological kind of moral status: they have moral rights against certain kinds of optimific harms. Uersons, by contrast, have a utilitarian kind of moral status: their interests are morally important (in proportion to the magnitude of those interests), but uersons do not have deontological moral rights or any (...) other kinds of deontological protections. In this paper, we discuss and critically evaluate three ways of supporting a hybrid view: a case-based argument; an autonomy-based rationale; and a rationale based in a capacity for what we call deep commitments. Finally, we discuss a way in which considerations about the moral significance of relationships might support an approximation of a hybrid view. (shrink)
: Commercial academic-industry relationships (AIRs) are widespread in biotechnology and have resulted in a wide array of restrictions on academic research. Objections to such restrictions have centered on the charge that they violate academic freedom. I argue that these objections are almost invariably unsuccessful. On a consequentialist understanding of the value of academic freedom, they rely on unfounded empirical claims about the overall effects that AIRs have on academic research. And on a rights-based understanding of the value of academic freedom, (...) they rely on excessively lavish assumptions about the kinds of activities that academic freedom protects. (shrink)
I analyze Ojibway objections to genomics and genetics research on wild rice. Although key academic and industry participants in this research have dismissed their objections out of hand, my analysis supports the conclusion that the objections merit serious consideration, even by those who do not share the Ojibway’s religious beliefs.
According to Autumn Fiester, the Presumption of Restraint—the thesis that an application of biotechnology to an animal is unethical unless backed by morally compelling reasons—is justified by five ethical claims. In this commentary, I explore the relevance of what Derek Parfit has dubbed the Non-Identity Problem for the implications of one of these claims, the Animal Welfare Claim. I conclude that while the Animal Welfare Claim condemns the alteration of founder animals in ways that are bad for them when there (...) is no important human or animal health benefit in the offing, it fails to condemn the alteration of animals in the context of important research projects, even if the alteration causes some animal suffering, and, given the Non-Identity Problem, it fails to condemn the subsequent creation of animals bred from the founders, so long as the subsequent animals have a life worth living. (shrink)
If Dworkin’s theory of civil disobedience is right, then the scientists, given their objections, would not have been justified in civil disobedience. However, they could have been justified, had they chosen to object on grounds provided by just war theory or by an account of democratic legitimacy.
The problem: we’re spending a lot without commensurate benefit Spending: 1. Health costs are about 14% of GNP, and are expected to exceed 30% by the year 2030 2. Estimated that the use of new technology and the overuse of existing technology accounts..
In this paper, I will attempt to concisely present Moore’s article “A Defence of Common Sense.” It is a collection of discussions of four points, loosely tied together by the commonality that Moore’s position regarding these points differs from positions taken up by some other philosophers.
I saw a poster the other day that said: “Living. It’s the only thing worth dying for.” Now, I’m not sure what that means really—in fact, I think it is an advertisement for a clothing company—but it brings up an interesting issue or cluster of issues. Are there things worth dying for? Or, and I know this is a very different question, are there things worth killing for? This is the question which we are going to talk about this week (...) and next. Of course, we’ll be talking about it on an international scale, but I think its answer hinges in important ways on the individual scale. We’ll come back to this point and we can get at it in more detail in the question period if you like. (shrink)
We argue that while presidential candidates have the right to medical privacy, the public nature and importance of the presidency generates a moral requirement that candidates waive those rights in certain circumstances. Specifically, candidates are required to disclose information about medical conditions that are likely to seriously undermine their ability to fulfill what we call the "core functions" of the office of the presidency. This requirement exists because (1) people have the right to be governed only with their consent, (2) (...) people's consent is meaningful only when they have access to information necessary for making informed voting decisions, (3) such information is necessary for making informed voting decisions, and (4) there are no countervailing reasons sufficiently strong to override this right. We also investigate alternative mechanisms for legally encouraging or requiring disclosure. Protecting the public's right to this information is of particular importance because of the documented history of deception and secrecy regarding the health of presidents and presidential candidates. (shrink)
• A coin appears to be elliptical when looked at from an angle, but it’s round. • A stick appears to be bent when it is partly immersed in water, but it’s straight. • An oasis appears to exist, but it doesn’t. • A bucket of water appears to be two different temperatures to two different hands, but it’s all..