Recent years have heralded increasing attention to the role of multinational corporations in regard to human rights violations. The concept of complicity has been of particular interest in this regard. This article explores the conceptual differences between silent complicity in particular and other, more "conventional" forms of complicity. Despite their far-reaching normative implications, these differences are often overlooked.Rather than being connected to specific actions as is the case for other forms of complicity, the concept of silent (...)complicity is tied to the identity, or the moral stature of the accomplice. More specifically, it helps us expose multinational corporations in positions of political authority. Political authority breeds political responsibility.Thus, corporate responsibility in regard to human rights may go beyond "doing no harm" and include apositive obligation to protect. Making sense of this duty leads to a discussion of the scope and limits of legitimate human rights advocacy by corporations. (shrink)
Some instances of right and wrongdoing appear to be of a distinctly collective kind. When, for example, one group commits genocide against another, the genocide is collective in the sense that the wrongness of genocide seems morally distinct from the aggregation of individual murders that make up the genocide. The problem, which I refer to as the problem of collective wrongs, is that it is unclear how to assign blame for distinctly collective wrongdoing to individual contributors when none of those (...) individual contributors is guilty of the wrongdoing in question. I offer Christopher Kutz’s Complicity Principle as an attractive starting point for solving the problem, and then argue that the principle ought to be expanded to include a broader and more appropriate range of cases. The view I ultimately defend is that individuals are blameworthy for collective harms insofar as they knowingly participate in those harms, and that said individuals remain blameworthy regardless of whether they succeed in making a causal contribution to those harms. (shrink)
The received account of whistleblowing, developed over the last quarter century, is identified with the work of Norman Bowie and Richard DeGeorge. Michael Davis has detailed three anomalies for the received view: the paradoxes of burden, missing harm and failure. In addition, he has proposed an alternative account of whistleblowing, viz., the Complicity Theory. This paper examines the Complicity Theory. The supposed anomalies rest on misunderstandings of the received view or misreadings of model cases of whistleblowing, for example, (...) the Challenger disaster and the Ford Pinto. Nevertheless, the Complicity Theory is important for as in science the contrast with alternative competing accounts often helps us better understand the received view. Several aspects of the received view are reviewed and strengthened through comparison with Complicity Theory, including why whistleblowing needs moral justification. Complicity Theory is also critiqued. The fundamental failure of Complicity Theory is its failure to explain why government and the public encourage and protect whistleblowers despite the possibility of considerable harm to the relevant company in reputation, lost jobs, and lost shareholder value. (shrink)
The Rwandan genocide of 1994 occurred due to widespread complicity. I will argue that complicity can be the basis for legal liability, even for criminal liability, if two conditions are met. First, the person’s actions or inactions must be causally efficacious at least in the sense that had the person not committed these actions or inactions the harm would have been made significantly less likely to occur. Second, the person must know that her actions or inactions risk contributing (...) to a harmful enterprise, and must intend that these actions or inactions risk making this contribution. But it is not part of this analysis that the defendant must intend the harmful result. I explore the boundaries between legal and moral complicity and end with a discussion of how the analysis defended in the paper affects such questions as how many people in Rwanda should be prosecuted for the genocide which occurred due to widespread complicity. (shrink)
Peter French’s and Steven Ratner’s thoughtful comments are helpful in advancing the analysis we offered in our book On Complicity and Compromise. Inevitably, there are areas of disagreement and bones to pick. However, our primary concern in this reply will be to press, with their assistance, the more positive agenda.
Apology is arguably the central act of the reparative work required after wrongdoing. The analysis by Claudia Card of complicity in collectively perpetrated evils moves one to ask whether apology ought to be requested of persons culpably complicit in institutional evils. To better appreciate the benefits of and barriers to apologies offered by culpably complicit wrongdoers, this article examines doctors’ complicity in a practice that meets Card's definition of an evil, namely, the non-medically necessary, nonconsensual “normalizing” interventions performed (...) on babies born with intersex anatomies. It argues that in this instance the complicity of doctors is culpable on Card's terms, and that their culpable complicity grounds rightful demands for them to apologize. (shrink)
In the criminal law of many jurisdictions complicity, though not itself a substantive crime but a way of committing a crime, is a doctrine that determines when one person is legally liable for a criminal offense that was committed by another person, typically by being an accomplice. That doctrine has a number of troubling moral implications with respect to responsibility, particularly when complicity is employed as a devise to capture one agent as morally accountable for the actions of (...) another agent and/or the consequences of those actions. I focus on the issue of responsibility for consequences and actus reus and mens rea difficulties with complicity as a moral concept in the light of two cases in which complicity is the basis for ascriptions of moral and criminal responsibility to someone who was not the primary wrongdoer. The book on the topic by Chiara Lepora and Robert E. Goodin provokes my discussion. (shrink)
In Complicity and the Rwandan Genocide ( 2010b ), Larry May argues that complicity can be the basis for criminal liability if two conditions are met: First, the person’s actions or inactions must contribute to the harm in question, and secondly, the person must know that his actions or inactions risk contributing to this harm. May also states that the threshold for guilt for criminal liability is higher than for moral responsibility. I agree with this latter claim, but (...) I think that it casts doubt on May’s account of criminal liability, particular in so-called performance cases in which low-level participants merely fail to help. This is because it is far from clear that passive non-helpers are morally responsible for their participation in widespread harms. Situationism purports to show that passive bystanders typically are not morally responsible for their role in such harms, because they were behaving reasonably subject to the constraints they faced. In this paper, I assess this claim, and defend it on the basis of O. W. Holmes’ standard of the reasonable person as a guide to judging criminal complicity. Finally, I provide a situationist account of the Rwandan genocide, which focuses on the systemic causes and primary perpetrators of the genocide, rather than low-level participants. (shrink)
The Law Commission for England and Wales has published for consultation a proposal for an offence of first degree murder. A person found guilty of this offence whether as a principal or an accomplice will receive a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. It is argued that the conditions for liability as an accomplice put forward by the Commission do not fulfil the Commission's aspiration for a "parity of culpability" between principals and accomplices. The discussion has general implications for the reform (...) of complicity laws. (shrink)
I argue, contrary to standard claims, that accomplice liability need not be a causal relation. One can be an accomplice to anotherâs crime without causally contributing to the criminal act of the principal. This is because the acts of aid and encouragement that constitute the basis for accomplice liability typically occur in contexts of under- and over-determination, where causal analysis is confounded. While causation is relevant to justifying accomplice liability in general, only potential causation is necessary in particular cases. I (...) develop this argument through the example of the role of U.S. legal officials in abetting the acts of unlawful interrogation that have taken place since 2001. I also suggest that there may be a limited justification for ex post ratificatory accomplice liability. (shrink)
Cooperation in evil or wrongdoing is one of the most perplexing areas in bioethics, both for those working in the field and those seeking their advice. The papers collected in this book are written by philosophers, theologians and lawyers who have studied these problems and / or by those who have faced these problems in their own work in law, healthcare and research, and political campaigning. The volume includes both general treatments of the subject of cooperation and conscientious objection, and (...) more specific treatments of topics such as voting to improve unjust laws, research on fetal / embryonic cells, and care of suicidal patients. The book is offered as a guide to a field which is both of academic interest and of personal concern to those who face cooperation problems in their own life and work. Contributors include: Bishop Donal Murray, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Jane Adolphe, Mike Delany, John Finnis, Luke Gormally, Colin Harte, Cathleen Kaveny, Richard Myers, Charlie O'Donnell, Alexander Pruss, Neil Scolding and Helen Watt. (shrink)
Shortly before and during the Second World War, Japanese doctors and medical researchers conducted large-scale human experiments in occupied China that were at least as gruesome as those conducted by Nazi doctors. Japan never officially acknowledged the occurrence of the experiments, never tried any of the perpetrators, and never provided compensation to the victims or issued an apology. Building on work by Jing-Bao Nie, this article argues that the U.S. government is heavily complicit in this grave injustice, and should respond (...) in an appropriate way in order to reduce this complicity, as well as to avoid complicity in future unethical medical experiments. It also calls on other U.S. institutions, in particular the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, to urge the government to respond, or to at least inform the public and initiate a debate about this dark page of American and Japanese history. (shrink)
Increasingly, global businesses are confronted with the question of complicity in human rights violations committed by abusive host governments. This contribution specifically looks at silent complicity and the way it challenges conventional interpretations of corporate responsibility. Silent complicity impliesthat corporations have moral obligations that reach beyond the negative realm of doing no harm. Essentially, it implies that corporations have a moral responsibility to help protect human rights by putting pressure on perpetrating host governments involved in human rights (...) abuses. This is a controversial claim, which this contribution proposes to analyze with a view to understanding and determining the underlying conditions that need to be met in order for moral agents to be said to have such responsibilities in the category of the duty to protect human rights. (shrink)
This paper considers some aspects of the morality of complicity, understood as participation in the wrongs of another. The central question is whether there is some way of participating in the wrongs of another other than by making a causal contribution to them. I suggest that there is not. In defending this view I encounter, and resist, the claim that it undermines the distinction between principals and accomplices. I argue that this distinction is embedded in the structure of rational (...) agency. (shrink)
Drawing on philosophy, law and political science, and on a wealth of practical experience delivering emergency medical services in conflict-ridden settings, Lepora and Goodin untangle the complexities surrounding compromise and complicity.
Calls for vigilance have been a recurrent theme in social justice education. Scholars making this call note that vigilance involves a continuous attentiveness, that it presumes some type of criticality, and that it is transformative. In this essay Barbara Applebaum expands upon some of these attributes and calls attention to three particular features of vigilance that, while they may be alluded to in the aforementioned discussions, are rarely made explicit. These three features are critique, staying in the anxiety of critique, (...) and vulnerability. Using the lens of Judith Butler's recent work and the discussions that her work has provoked, Applebaum examines these three features of vigilance and demonstrates how they are crucial for white people interrogating their complicity in systemic racism. Finally, she discusses how the expanded three features of vigilance can offer guidance to one of the enormously thorny questions that arises in the social justice classroom. (shrink)
Direct reprogramming of human skin cells makes available a source of pluripotent stem cells without the perceived evil of embryo destruction, but the advent of such a powerful biotechnology entangles stem cell research in other forms of moral complicity. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) research had its origins in human embryonic stem cell research and the projected biomedical applications of iPS cells almost certainly will require more embryonic stem cell research. Policies that inhibit iPSC research in order to avoid (...) moral complicity are themselves complicit in preventable harms to patients. Moral complicity may be unavoidable, but a Blue Ribbon Panel charged with assessing the need for additional embryonic stem cell lines may ease a transition from embryonic stem cell research to clinical applications of iPS cells. (shrink)
Recent work on the ethics of war has struggled to simultaneously justify two central tenets of international law: the Permission to kill enemy combatants, and the Prohibition on targeting enemy noncombatants. Recently, just war theorists have turned to collectivist considerations as a way out of this problem. In this paper, I reject the argument that all and only unjust combatants are liable to be killed in virtue of their complicity in the wrongful war fought by their side, and that (...) noncombatants are not permissible targets because they are not complicit. I then argue that just combatants have some reason to direct force against unjust combatants rather than unjust noncombatants, because they should respect the reasonable self-determining decisions of other political communities, when those communities settle on the distribution of a negative surplus of cost for which they are collectively but not individually responsible. These collectivist reasons will not fully justify the Permission and the Prohibition, but they can contribute to that justification. (shrink)
Education has always occupied a contradictory position in society, expected to ensure compliance and continuity and yet to encourage critique and renewal. Since the early 1980s, however, successive UK governments have directly mobilised education, and higher education in particular, as an ideological tool in the task of embedding neo-liberalism as ‘common sense’. Modularisation has been in the vanguard, first in the universities, more latterly at secondary level. The effect has been disastrous: here as elsewhere, choice has become depressingly fetishised; knowledge, (...) and with it learning, have been fragmented and commodified; academics, like others, have been de-professionalised; and students, like the rest of us, have been transformed into clients or customers. The details of the history and impact of all this are too close to readers’ experience to require elaboration here: its significance, however, has been too little considered. In particular, the question of how we allowed it to come about is one worth asking – if only so that we can learn from our complicity. Since, however, that judgement depends on the negative view of modularisation just outlined, I start by giving a summary argument for such an evaluation (section 1). I then offer some remarks about the specifically ideological character of modularisation (section 2) as an introduction to some initial reflections on our complicity in this aspect of the neo-liberals’ efforts to make universities safe in their attempt to ensure that the future belongs to them (section 3). Finally I offer a brief suggestion about what we might yet do to overcome the disaster (section 4). (shrink)
In part of an ongoing study of white complicity, moral responsibility, and moral agency in social justice education, Barbara Applebaum asks in this essay what model or models of moral responsibility can help white students recognize their white complicity and which models of moral responsibility obscure such acknowledgment. To address this question, she explores the concept of white complicity and its relation to racism and raises some compelling conceptual and pedagogical questions. Then she reviews a recent analysis (...) of the concept of “complicity” and shows it to be inadequate as a foundation for white complicity. Finally, Applebaum describes Iris Marion Young’s conception of a Social Connection Model of Responsibility and shows it to be capable not only of elucidating white complicity but also, when incorporated in social justice pedagogy, of diminishing denials of white complicity by white students. (shrink)
Are consumers in high-income countries complicit in labor exploitation when they buy good produced in sweatshops? To focus attention we consider cases of labor exploitation such as those of exposing workers to very high risks of irreversible diseases, for instance, by failing to provide adequate safety equipment. If I purchase a product made under such conditions, what is my part in this exploitation? Is my contribution one of complicity that is blameworthy? If so, what ought I to do about (...) such participation? I address these questions at fi rst by applying a comprehensive account recently offered by Chiara Lepora and Robert Goodin, and analyzing the results in light of some important empirical issues. (shrink)
This paper uses Margaret Urban Walker’s “expressive collaborative” method of moral inquiry to examine and illustrate the morality of nurses in Great Britain from around 1860 to 1915, as well as nursing complicity in one of the first eugenic policies. The authors aim to focus on how context shapes and limits morality and agency in nurses and contributes to a better understanding of debates in nursing ethics both in the past and present.
Complicity with wrongdoing comes in many forms and many degrees. We distinguish subcategories cooperation, collaboration and collusion from connivance and condoning, identifying their defining features and assessing their characteristic moral valences. We illustrate the use of these distinctions by reference to events in refugee camps in and around Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, and the extent to which international organizations and nongovernment organizations were wrongfully complicit with the misuse of refugees as human shields by the perpetrators of the genocide (...) who were allowed to run those camps. (shrink)
The alleged problem of the dirty hands of politicians has been much discussed since Michael Walzer’s original piece (Walzer 1974). The discussion has concerned the precise nature of the problem or sought to dissolve the apparent paradox. However there has been little discussion of the putative complicity, and thus also dirtying of hands, of a democratic public that authorizes politicians to act in its name. This article outlines the sense in which politicians do get dirty hands and the degree (...) to which a democratic public may also get dirty hands. It separates the questions of secrecy, authorisation, and wrongfulness in order to spell out the extent of public complicity. Finally it addresses the ways in which those who do and those who do not acknowledge the problem of dirty hands erroneously discount or deny the problem of complicity by an appeal to the nature of democracy, a putatively essential need for political openness or to the scope of ideal theory. (shrink)
This paper examines what managers ought to do when confronted with apparent moral conflicts between their managerial responsibilities and the general requirements of morality, specifically when those conflicts are driven by the institutional environment. I examine Google’s decision to enter the Chinese search engine market as an example of such a conflict. I consider the view that Google’s managers engaged in justifiable moral compromise in making the choice to engage in self-censorship and show how this view depends on the idea (...) of genuine moral dilemmas or irresolvable moral conflicts. I argue that there are serious reasons to doubt the existence of genuine moral dilemmas both in the abstract, as well as in the context of managerial responsibility. I propose an alternative account for what Google’s managers ought to do, as well as others who face relevantly similar situations. The account contains two conditions for permissibly contributing to another party’s failure to live up to their moral responsibilities. The first condition is that the manager must intend and act in such a way as to minimize the firm’s complicity in the other entity or actor’s failure, which in most cases will imply a duty for the manager to take actions that aim towards changing the institutional context. Under the second condition, managers ought to communicate to the firm’s constituents that they take seriously the importance of the interests at stake. (shrink)
This paper is a story of personal learning. I locate its beginning in my early, comfortable adoption of liberalism as the preferred perspective for my work as a philosopher of education. I then trace how and why I became disaffected with this perspective. I describe how learning from students, feminism and critical race theory led to an acceptance of the fact that my particular social locations as a white, upper-middle-class, educated, heterosexual man are not politically neutral as liberalism would have (...) it, but aspects of social relations that are oppressive to others. I illustrate how this development and its implications took shape in my work, leading me to the unpleasant implications of my unavoidable complicity in these relations, even down to the level of my very subjectivity. I worry, then, about an apparent conundrum that ?I? experience when I address the question of how ameliorative change might be initiated, and end with some injunctions to myself. (shrink)
In this review essay, Barbara Applebaum uses white complicity as a framework for discussing three books: Mica Pollock’s Colormute: Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School, Debra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin’s The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racist, and Virginia Lea and Judy Helfand’s Identifying Race and Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom. She explains the notion of white complicity and discusses some of the deep philosophical questions involving moral responsibility and agency that arise when (...) one acknowledges white complicity. In particular, she examines the question of whether complicity is best described as grounded in individual intention or as an outcome of collective action, as well as whether “complicity” as a word displaces the strong sense of harm implied by the term “racist.” Finally, Applebaum explores how some of these philosophical questions crisscross through the discussions highlighted in the three books. (shrink)
The charge of complicity has been raised in debates over the ethics of fetal tissue transplantation and embryonic stem cell research. However, the applicability of the concept of complicity to these types of research is neither clear nor uncontroversial. This article discusses the historical case of Julius Hallervorden, a distinguished German neuropathologist who conducted research on brains of mentally handicapped patients killed in the context of the Nazi ‘euthanasia’ programme. It is argued that this case constitutes a paradigm (...) of complicity in research that is useful in assessing complicity in contemporary research ethics. (shrink)
Scientific research aims to use reliable methods to produce generalizable new knowledge in order to understand the human condition and maximize human potential. The sanctity accorded to scientific research has been violated by numerous instances of research fraud, as well as deceptive and conflicted research that have seriously harmed people, subverted the evidence-base, wasted valuable resources, and undermined public trust. This deception by individuals has been fostered by the unrealistic expectations of society; facilitated by the complicity of institutions and (...) organisations; and sanctioned by the inaction of supposed gate-keepers. Re-defining misconduct as occurring on a continuum from irresponsible to fraudulent is the first step in confronting this inconvenient truth. Implementing and evaluating multiple strategies targeting systems and individuals that promote the responsible conduct of research, rather than merely exposing serious instances of misconduct by individuals, is urgently required to restore faith in the aspirations, integrity, and results of scientific research. (shrink)
Complicity as toleration of wrong is deeply rooted in Western language and narratives. It is based on assumptions about the self, our relationship to the world and personal accountability that differ from the Common Law's and moral theology's standard doctrines. How we blame others for tolerating wrong depends upon the moral force of public discourse and upon the meaning of censure as exhortation. Censure as blame is usually retrospective, while censure as exhortation is forward-looking and stresses moral maturity and (...) flourishing. (shrink)
The ending of neither story [Heart of Darkness] nor film [Apocalypse Now] is confused, just bifocal. In Coppola we find writ large, for Willard as well as for us, what Conrad seems to keep from Marlowe by ironic distance: that the return to civilization from primitive haunts can never lay the ghostly image of that bestial horror lurking within us, the horror that finds such kinship, regressed beyond any ethical restraint, in the jungle's heart of darkness. It is a horror (...) which the tropical rain droning on the sound track as the film's last trace can scarcely wash clean. For just before, staring straight at the camera and through it at us for one final time, confirming earlier suggestions of the universal complicity in evil, Willard's disembodied face - the reflective mind as if unmoored from its whole self, decapitated - slides out of view to the right behind the dead but deathless carved image. With the film's narrator absorbed into the immemorial icon of that anthropomorphic vanity and villainy which has comprised his tale, Kurtz's "horror" comes onto the sound track as a primal echo in the soul, an echo drenched from without by the sounds of a world that outlasts but cannot quench it. Garrett Stewart, professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is the author of Dickens and the Trials of Imagination. His previous contribution to Critical Inquiry, "Modern Hard Times: Chaplin and the Cinema of Self-Reflection," appeared in the Winter 1976 issue. (shrink)
Being White, Being Good focuses on white complicity and white complicity pedagogy. It examines the shifts in our conceptualization of the subject, language and moral responsibility that are required for understanding white complicity and draws out implications for social justice pedagogy.
Machine generated contents note: Preface; Part I. Theory: Material Cooperation in Economic Life: 1. The nature of material cooperation and moral complicity; 2. Complicity in what?: The problem of accumulative harms; 3. Too small and morally insignificant? The problem of overdetermination; 4. Who is morally responsible in the chain of causation? The problem of interdependence; Part II. Application: A Typology of Market-Mediated Complicity: A. Hard Complicity: 5. Benefiting from and enabling wrongdoing; 6. Precipitating gratuitous harms; B. (...) Soft Complicity: 7. Leaving severe pecuniary externalities unattended; 8. Reinforcing injurious socioeconomic structures; Part III. Synthesis and Conclusions: 9. Toward a theology of economic responsibility; 10. Synthesis: Christian ethics and blameworthy material cooperation; References; Index. (shrink)
Distant Harms, Distant Markets looks at moral complicity in markets, employing resources from sociology, early Christian history, feminism, legal theory, and Catholic moral theology today. The authors skillfully explore the causal and moral responsibilities which consumers bear for the harms that markets cause to distant others.
We live in a morally flawed world. Our lives are complicated by what other people do, and by the harms that flow from our social, economic and political institutions. Our relations as individuals to these collective harms constitute the domain of complicity. This book examines the relationship between collective responsibility and individual guilt. It presents a rigorous philosophical account of the nature of our relations to the social groups in which we participate, and uses that account in a discussion (...) of contemporary moral theory. Christopher Kutz shows that the two prevailing theories of moral philosophy, Kantianism and consequentialism, both have difficulties resolving problems of complicity. He then argues for a richer theory of accountability in which any real understanding of collective action not only allows but demands individual responsibility. (shrink)
Drawing on philosophy, law and political science, and on a wealth of practical experience delivering emergency medical services in conflict-ridden settings, Lepora and Goodin untangle the complexities surrounding compromise and complicity.
This book explores the concept of and cases of complicity in an interdisciplinary context. It in part covers cases of direct complicity, where an agent or set of agents facilitates an identifiable act of wrongdoing. The book also draws attention to the manner in which agents become complicit in the reproduction of wider practices of wrongdoing. It goes on to explore the notion of complicity through a series of cases emerging from a variety of academic disciplines and (...) professional practice, including the complicity of politicians, medical practitioners, and the wider public in forms of state violence, protest movements and secret‐keeping. (shrink)
We all know that doctors accept gifts from drug companies, ranging from pens and coffee mugs to free vacations at luxurious resorts. But as the former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine reveals in this shocking expose, these innocuous-seeming gifts are just the tip of an iceberg that is distorting the practice of medicine and jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans today. In On the Take, Dr. Jerome Kassirer offers an unsettling look at the pervasive payoffs that (...) physicians take from big drug companies and other medical suppliers, arguing that the billion-dollar onslaught of industry money has deflected many physicians' moral compasses and directly impacted the everyday care we receive from the doctors and institutions we trust most. Underscored by countless chilling untold stories, the book illuminates the financial connections between the wealthy companies that make drugs and the doctors who prescribe them. Kassirer details the shocking extent of these financial enticements and explains how they encourage bias, promote dangerously misleading medical information, raise the cost of medical care, and breed distrust. Among the questionable practices he describes are: the disturbing number of senior academic physicians who have financial arrangements with drug companies; the unregulated "front" organizations that advocate certain drugs; the creation of biased medical education materials by the drug companies themselves; and the use of financially conflicted physicians to write clinical practice guidelines or to testify before the FDA in support of a particular drug. A brilliant diagnosis of an epidemic of greed, On the Take offers insight into how we can cure the medical profession and restore our trust in doctors and hospitals. (shrink)
In Michael Moore's important book Causation and Responsibility, he holds that causal contribution matters to responsibility independently of its relevance to action. We are responsible for our actions, according to Moore, because where there is action, we typically also find the kind of causal contribution that is crucial for responsibility. But it is causation, and not action, that bears the normative weight. This paper assesses this claim and argues that Moore's reasons for it are unconvincing. It is suggested that sometimes (...) a person's responsibility for that to which he causally contributes depends on his recognition of an identity between himself and the protagonist of the event for which he is held responsible. Since this fact about identity is not captured by causal contribution, action matters to responsibility for reasons that are not exhausted by the fact that action involves causal contribution. The relevance of this idea for accomplice liability is also briefly discussed. (shrink)
Over the past decades, mood enhancement effects of various drugs and neuromodulation technologies have been proclaimed. If one day highly effective methods for significantly altering and elevating one’s mood are available, it is conceivable that the demand for them will be considerable. One urgent concern will then be what role physicians should play in providing such services. The concern can be extended from literature on controversial demands for aesthetic surgery. According to Margaret Little, physicians should be aware that certain aesthetic (...) enhancement requests reflect immoral social norms and ideals. By granting such requests, she argues, doctors render themselves complicit to a collective ‘evil’. In this paper, we wish to question the extent to which physicians, psychiatrists and/or neurosurgeons should play a role as ‘moral gatekeepers’ in dealing with suspect demands and norms underlying potential desires to alter one’s mood or character. We investigate and discuss the nature and limits of physician responsibilities in reference to various hypothetical and intuitively problematic mood enhancement requests. (shrink)