The existence of predatory animals is a problem in animal ethics that is often not taken as seriously as it should be. We show that it reveals a weakness in Tom Regan's theory of animal rights that also becomes apparent in his treatment of innocent human threats. We show that there are cases in which Regan's justice-prevails-approach to morality implies a duty not to assist the jeopardized, contrary to his own moral beliefs. While a modified account of animal rights that (...) recognizes the moral patient as a kind of entity that can violate moral rights avoids this counterintuitive conclusion, it makes non-human predation a rights issue that morally ought to be subjected to human regulation. Jennifer Everett, Lori Gruen and other animal advocates base their treatment of predation in part on Regan's theory and run into similar problems, demonstrating the need to radically rethink the foundations of the animal rights movement. We suggest to those who, like us, find it less plausible to introduce morality to the wild than to reject the concept of rights that makes this move necessary to read our criticism either as a modus tollens argument and reject non-human animal rights altogether or as motivating a libertarian-ish theory of animal rights. (shrink)
Locke's defense of private property rights includes what is called a proviso— "the Lockean proviso"—and some have argued that in terms of it the right to private property can have various exceptions and it may not even be unjust to redistribute wealth that is privately owned. I argue that this cannot be right because it would imply that one's right to life could also have various exceptions, so anyone's life (and labor) could be subject to conscription if some would need (...) it badly enough. Since this could amount to enslavement and involuntary servitude, it would be morally and legally unacceptable. Key Words: rights • John Locke • Lockean proviso • scarcity. (shrink)
The first part of this project deals with the more recent historical discussions of the topic, Most of which focus on the views of aristotle and j s mill. These two authors turn out to be the focus of attention of most writers who wish to consider the major historical reflections on happiness, Ones that have shaped our thinking on the topic. The second part of this project deals with contemporary original thinking about happiness. Yet here, Too, The major themes (...) on the topic tend to hark back to either the aristotelian or the millian line of analysis. In this section various putative components of happiness or philosophical topics and methods related to understanding happiness are discussed one by one. The paper concludes with some reflections of the authors about the merits of a eudaimonistic conception of happiness. (shrink)
The Pseudo-Science of B.F. Skinner was Professor Tibor Machan's first book. Now, nearly forty years after its initial publication and after three dozen additional books published by Machan, it is available again through University Press of America. This study is still alive with its initial inquiry into the work of B.F. Skinner, and it is just as influential upon young students today as it was forty years ago. Was Skinner a bona fide scientist or an amateur metaphysician? Was Skinner correct (...) to hold that only what can be observed matters when it comes to understanding ourselves? Was he correct that free will is fictional and morality is pre-scientific? Professor Machan's fascinating inquiry into Skinner's radical studies is a salute and a challenge to the corpus of his work. (shrink)
Libertarianism: For and Against offers dueling perspectives on the scope of legitimate government. Tibor R. Machan, a well-known libertarian philosopher, argues for a minimal government devoted solely to protecting individual rights to life, liberty, and property. Against this view, philosopher Craig Duncan defends democratic liberalism, which aims to ensure that all citizens have fair access to a life of dignity. In a dynamic exchange of arguments, the two philosophers cut to the heart of this important debate.
Among business ethics teachers, as reflected in their books and papers, advertising is deemed anything but honorable. Quite the opposite. This is mainly because so many business ethicists are convinced that altruism is the proper ethics for people to practice and, of course, advertising is far from altruistic. The following will be a presentation of a position that finds advertising ethical but also rejects altruism as the proper ethics by which human beings should live.
Over the years, two criticisms of free markets have been repeated over and over again, by very prominent academics. One concerns the subjective theory of values many pro-market economists embrace, the other involves the move from something being good to do to requiring the government to make – or ‘nudge’ – us do it.
A familiar teaching about Socrates, based mostly on Plato's representation of the Athenian philosopher, is that he professed not to know anything. The only thing he knew, he is reported to have said, is that he knew nothing.
It is argued that a wrongheaded model of what a theory of knowledge must satisfy has engendered unjustified skepticism about knowledge and moral knowledge in particular. A contextualist conception of knowledge is sketched and defended and it is then argued that in terms of such an idea of what it is to know something the prospects for moral and political knowledge are significantly improved.
TIBOR R. MACHAN argues that David Kelley's Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence, which makes the case for including the benevolent virtues as a prominent feature of the Objectivist ethics, is too brief but filled with poignant observations and some valuable analysis. Machan discusses altruism, in response to much criticism of Rand's rendition of the position, and defends ethical egoism against widespread misrepresentations.
A. Collins once argued that time travel is only imaginable if we relate the "event" out of context. John Hospers argues that it is logically possible for an iron bar to float in water even if it is actually (empirically) impossible. My point in this piece is that Hospers relies on viewing the floating out of context, in Walt Disney fashion; but that is no way to establish any kind of possibility. I also discuss "conceivability", a term frequently used either (...) to clarify logical possibility or to interchange for the same. I argue that it cannot do either. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This paper argues that generosity as a moral virtue is only consistently and fully possible to practise in the kind of polity that upholds natural individual human rights, including the basic negative right to private property. The paper sketches a characterisation of generosity and explains the sense in which it can be a moral virtue. Some of the assumptions underlying the concept of moral virtue are considered and it is argued that contrary to some recent claims, it is possible (...) to conceptualise as well as to practise moral virtues in our age. Yet it is also shown that certain political prerequisites are necessary for practising generosity. Furthermore, it is shown that there cannot be any generosity involved in a polity in which one is forced to share one's wealth with those who might be the beneficiaries of generous conduct. Finally, it is argued that even in a polity with a very limited government some acts of official generosity are possible. (shrink)