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Displaying: 1-10 of 12 documents

symposium on philosophy in public life
1. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Jeff Malpas, Truth, Lies, and Deceit: On Ethics in Contemporary Public Life
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On the one hand, most of us would take honesty to be a key ethical virtue. Corporations and other organizations often include it in their codes of ethics, we legislate against various forms of dishonesty, we tend to be ashamed (or at least defensive) when we are caught not telling the truth, and honesty is often regarded as a key element in relationships. Yet on the other hand, dishonesty, that is, lying and deceit, seems to be commonplace in contemporary public life even amongst those leading figures in our society whom we might otherwise take to be the exemplars of public virtue. So, is the emphasis on truth and honesty just a sham? Does the fact of our actual practice mean that truth and honesty matter only rhetorically, and, if so, does that mean that whatever it is we mean by ‘ethics,’ truth and honesty are not a part of it? What I will suggest is that truth is indeed central to ethical practice, and not only to ethical practice, but also to a properly democratic politics, and that the apparent breakdown in the commitment to truth in public life is indicative of a deeper ethical, as well as political, breakdown.
2. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Steven P. Lee, Is Public Philosophy Possible?
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Do philosophers have an obligation to public philosophy, that is, do they owe the pubic an effort to explain their work in a form that the public can understand and make use of? A prior question is whether public philosophy is possible, and this question is open because the role of the public philosopher may not be a possible role in our society. In Plato’s view, public philosophy was not possible in a democracy, as the only role for public philosophy was in a society in which philosophers were rulers. But the differences between our conception of democracy and Plato’s may show that his view of the social fate of the potential philosopher in a democracy does not hold for us.
3. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Bernice Bovenkerk, Lonneke M. Poort, The Role of Ethics Committees in Public Debate
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Governments have used several mechanisms to deal with intractable policy conflicts about issues in bioethics. One mechanism is the installment of an ethics committee and another one is the organization of public debates. Often, ethics committees have an implicit or explicit role in the stimulation of such public debate. However, this role is not self-evident and we therefore analyse the relation between committees and public debate. What should the function of biotechnology ethics committees be, how does this relate to their composition, and to what extent are these functions met in practice? To this end, we have examined the three national committees of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Australia in the field of animal and plant biotechnology. We argue that there is often a mismatchbetween the goals one wants to reach by stimulating public debate and the way this has been given shape, partly through ethics committees. In fact, installing (biotechnology) ethics committees is to a certain extent a premature move that contains rather than stimulates public debate.
symposium on punishment
4. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Whitley Kaufman, The Rise and Fall of the Mixed Theory of Punishment
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In the middle of the twentieth century, many philosophers came to believe that the problem of morally justifying punishment had finally been solved. Defended most famously by Hart and Rawls, the so-called “Mixed Theory” of punishment claimed that justifying punishment required recognizing that the utilitarian and retributive theories were in fact answers to two different questions: utilitarianism answered the question of why we have punishment as an institution, while retribution answered the question of how to punish individual wrongdoers. We could thus reconcile the two great competing theories of punishment, and show how they were both right and not in conflict at all. Unfortunately, it gradually became apparent that the solution would not work. This essay attempts to set out thereasons why the Mixed Theory was bound to fail, and why the problem of reconciling the utilitarian and retributive goals remains with us.
5. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
A. T. Nuyen, Moral Luck, Role-Based Ethics and the Punishment of Attempts
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In most countries, failed criminal attempts are punished less severely than those that succeed. Many philosophers, including myself, have argued that differential punishment can be justified. However, in a recent paper, Hanna raises objections to defenses of differential punishment, claiming that such policy goes against our “desert intuitions” and also cannot be justified on utilitarian grounds. I argue in this paper that Hanna’s desert-based and utilitarian objections can be undermined. Further, they are valid only within moral theories that take the agent to be an independent self, whose responsibility rests on his or her intentions and deliberations alone. However, differential punishment can be justified in a different kind of moral theory, in which there are good reasons to give luck a role to play.
6. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Stephen Kershnar, Desert Tracks Character Alone
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In this paper, I argue that character alone grounds desert. I begin by arguing that desert is grounded by a person’s character, action, or both. In the second section, I defend the claim that character grounds desert. My argument rests on intuitions that other things being equal, it would be intrinsically better for virtuous persons to flourish and vicious persons suffer than vice versa. In the third section, I argue that actions do not ground desert. I give three arguments in support of this claim. First, there is little intuitive support for this supposed ground and to the extent that there is support, it is undermined when we consider what causes character and acts to diverge. Second, this type of desert doesn’t fit with a unifying account of the different aspects of intrinsic value. Third, the most plausible version of act-based desert leaves it unclear why acts should ground desert.
7. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Carol V. A. Quinn, Towards a Social Conception of Dignity
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In this paper I develop and defend a social conception of dignity. To that end, I look at what Holocaust survivors say about dignity (and the related Hebrew word, kavod) since many have described their experiences in these terms. Unlike traditional conceptions, on my account dignity admits of degrees—one can have more or less dignity.
8. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
J. Jeremy Wisnewski, It’s About Time: Defusing the Ticking Bomb Argument
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The most common argument in favor of torture in the current literature is the ticking bomb argument. It asks us to imagine a case where only torture can prevent the detonation of a bomb that will kill millions. In this paper, I argue that the seeming effectiveness of this argument rests on two things: 1) the underdetermined semantic content of the term ‘torture,’ and 2) a philosophical attitude that regards the empirical facts about torture as irrelevant. Once we pay attention to the facts about torture, and particularly about the role time plays in actual torture, the ticking bomb argument becomes incoherent, and hence cannot provide a basis for accepting torture.
9. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Aaron Quinn, Autonomy and Responsibility in the Practice of Journalism
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Autonomy and responsibility are interrelated concepts crucial to the moral analysis of professional persons, organizations and institutions, and for the purpose of this paper, I focus on the persons, organizations, and institution of journalism. My paper’s thesis hinges on the notion that the confluence of the concepts of autonomy and responsibility creates a natural conceptual foundation for understanding moral praise and blame. Though in moral philosophy this notion has long been accepted, it has not yet been carefully applied to the practice of journalism. Applying these concepts to journalism, I will argue, is crucial for accurately determining moral praise and blame, as it adds a structure to evaluating ethical behavior in a way that has not yet been put forward.
10. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Smadar Gonen, Sense versus Sensibility
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The current article characterizes three types of emotional experiences: purposefulness, sentimentalism, and sensitivity. By characterizing these types of emotions, we will show that the concept ‘emotional intelligence’ combines purposefulness and efficiency together with sensitivity and spontaneity—an unlikely combination. Moreover, we will present the difficulties related to coping and emotional regulating, which are also part of emotional intelligence. The need to control our emotions stems from the fact that we are social beings who are supposed to behave and feel according to accepted social norms, and from the need to cope with problems that are not emotional in nature.