The Journal of Ethics

http://link.springer.com/journal/10892

List of Papers (Total 28)

There’s Nothing Quasi About Quasi-Realism: Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine

This paper seeks to clarify and defend the proposition that moral realism is best elaborated as a moral doctrine. I begin by upholding Ronald Dworkin’s anti-Archimedean critique of the error theory against some strictures by Michael Smith, and I then briefly suggest how a proponent of moral realism as a moral doctrine would respond to Smith’s defense of the Archimedeanism of ...

The Lucretian Puzzle and the Nature of Time

If a person’s death is bad for him for the reason that he would have otherwise been intrinsically better off, as the Deprivation Approach says, does it not follow that his prenatal nonexistence is bad for him as well? Recently, it has been suggested that the “A-theory” of time can be used to support a negative answer to this question. In this paper, I raise some problems for this ...

Asymmetry and Incoherence: A Reply to Cyr

In defense of the Deprivation Approach to the badness of death against the Lucretian objection that death is relevantly similar to prenatal nonexistence, John Martin Fischer and Anthony L. Brueckner have suggested that whereas death deprives us of things that it is rational for us to care about, prenatal nonexistence does not. I have argued that this suggestion, even if correct, ...

Accountability and Desert

In recent decades, participants in the debate about whether we are free and responsible agents have tended with increasing frequency to begin their papers or books by fixing the terms “free” and “responsible” in clear ways to avoid misunderstanding. This is an admirable development, and while some misunderstandings have certainly been avoided, and positions better illuminated as a ...

“The End of Immortality!” Eternal Life and the Makropulos Debate

Responding to a well-known essay by Bernard Williams, philosophers (and a few theologians) have engaged in what I call “the Makropulos debate,” a debate over whether immortality—“living forever”—would be desirable for beings like us. Lacking a firm conceptual grounding in the religious contexts from which terms such as “immortality” and “eternal life” gain much of their sense, the ...

Criminal Rehabilitation Through Medical Intervention: Moral Liability and the Right to Bodily Integrity

Criminal offenders are sometimes required, by the institutions of criminal justice, to undergo medical interventions intended to promote rehabilitation. Ethical debate regarding this practice has largely proceeded on the assumption that medical interventions may only permissibly be administered to criminal offenders with their consent. In this article I challenge this assumption by ...

Is Neurolaw Conceptually Confused?

In Minds, Brains, and Law, Michael Pardo and Dennis Patterson argue that current attempts to use neuroscience to inform the theory and practice of law founder because they are built on confused conceptual foundations. Proponents of neurolaw attribute to the brain or to its parts psychological properties that belong only to people; this mistake vitiates many of the claims they make. ...

Transitional Justice and “Genocide”: Practical Ethics for Genocide Narratives

In the wake of the Cold War a characteristic style of genocide narratives emerged in the West. For the most part, philosophers did not pay attention to this development even though they are uniquely qualified to address arguments and conceptual issues discussed in this burgeoning genocide genre. While ostensibly a response to a specific recent article belonging to the genre, this ...

Cohen’s Conservatism and Human Enhancement

In an intriguing essay, G. A. Cohen has defended a conservative bias in favour of existing value. In this paper, we consider whether Cohen’s conservatism raises a new challenge to the use of human enhancement technologies. We develop some of Cohen’s suggestive remarks into a new line of argument against human enhancement that, we believe, is in several ways superior to existing ...

Possible Persons and the Problem of Prenatal Harm

When attempting to determine which of our acts affect future generations and which affect the identities of those who make up such generations, accounts of personal identity that privilege psychological features and person affecting accounts of morality, whilst highly useful when discussing the rights and wrongs of acts relating to extant persons, seem to come up short. On such ...

Filial Obligations: A Contextual, Pluralist Model

In this article I investigate the nature and extent of filial obligations. The question what (adult) children owe their parents is not only philosophically interesting, but also of increasing relevance in ageing societies. Its answer matters to elderly people and their adult children, and is relevant to social policy issues in various ways. I present the strongest arguments for and ...

Rights, Liability, and the Moral Equality of Combatants

According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no “moral equality of combatants.” That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war—but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in ...