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1. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Stephen Darwall Why Ethics is Part of Philosophy: A Plea for a Philosophical Ethics
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Ethics is frequently divided into three parts: metaethics, normative ethical theory, and the more specific normative ethics. However, only metaethics is explicitly philosophical insofar as it is concerned with fundamental questions about the content, objects, and status of ethical thought and discourse. During the heyday of conceptual analysis, philosophers were admonished to restrict themselves entirely to metaethics. Since, it was said, they lacked any special expertise as philosophers on normative questions, their pronouncements could be no more than hortatory. I will argue that there is no satisfactory alternative to conducting normative ethical inquiry in conjunction with metaethics. Only by investigating normative and metaethical questions together in an integrated philosophical ethics can we hope to make real progress with either. Ethics should remain part of philosophy.
2. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Dan W. Brock Ethical Issues in the Construction of Cost-Effectiveness Analyses for the Prioritization and Rationing of Healthcare
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The dominant methodology in health policy for prioritizing and rationing health care resources is cost-effectiveness analysis, typically using quality adjusted life years (QALYs) or disability adjusted life years (DALYs) to measure health outcomes. The construction of these measures involves a number of moral or value choices, including: How should states of health and disability be evaluated, and whose preferences (e.g., the disabled or non-disabled) should be used? How should these evaluations reflect that prioritization will involve tradeoffs between health benefits for different persons or groups? Do all QALYs count equally, no matter what age at which they are received? Should discount rates be applied to health benefits? I will show the nature of the moral issues at stake in answering these questions, and briefly argue how they should be answered.
3. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Russell Hardin Ethics in Big Science
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In accounts of the ethics of science, we may treat practicing science as an institution of sorts. It has an imputed purpose, roughly, finding the truth about vast classes of causal relations. Scientists have been able to act reasonably with no more than the natural confluence of individual interest with the truth. But in the age of institutionalized science, with career stakes outside the accumulation of scientific findings and with institutional interests often directly conflicting with truth, this ‘natural confluence’ is no longer adequate. Now, incentives must be reinforced from outside the scientist’s personal research arena or the scientist must be normatively governed by a desire for truth. In big science, there is little doubt that a formal regulatory system outside the scientist’s research arena is institutionally easier to design and implement than is the inculcation of an attitude of service.
4. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Stuart Rosenbaum Moral Theory and the Reflective Life
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In what follows I want to endorse and to reinforce what seems to me a pragmatic, and more specifically a Deweyan, account of the dim prospects for traditional moral theory. I want further to describe a role for moral philosophy that accepts the demise of moral theory, a role exemplified by Dewey himself in his insistence on the place of intelligence and reflection in a satisfactory life. Dewey’s insistence on intelligence and reflection in the good life gives rise to a large–scale moral ideal, the ideal of the reflective life; I describe that ideal and contrast it with some others.
5. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Virginia Held Feminist Ethical Theory
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I will treat feminist ethical theory as a distinct type of theory. Although some feminists are skeptical about the need for theory as distinct from cultivating practices of being morally perceptive and sensitive, many others argue for the theory they see as needed. Feminist ethical theory usually includes, but is not limited to, the concerns that have been developed under the heading of ‘the ethics of care’ or ‘care ethics’. Care ethics are usually contrasted with ethics of justice, such as Kantian and utilitarian moral theories. Instead of being a theory primarily focused on right action, an ethic of care seeks moral evaluations of relations between persons, and reinterprets both personal and political relations in light of the value of care. I will show how feminist ethical theory differs from virtue theory as well as from Kantian and utilitarian theories.
6. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Michael Slote Moral Theories and Virtue Ethics
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The recent revival of virtue ethics may have a salutary effect on normative ethical theory. Over the past few years, an ‘agent-based’ virtue ethics inspired by the moral sentimentalism of Hutcheson, Hume, Martineau, and (more recently) Nel Noddings has taken shape. Because this approach allows room for a generalized humanitarianism that is notably absent in Aristotle, it may have more contemporary promise than neo-Aristotelian views. But agent-based virtue ethics also enables us to make some new distinctions within more familiar views and to that extent, therefore, has something to offer advocates of the very approaches with which it disagrees.
7. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Jonathan Dancy Can a Particularist Learn the Difference Between Right and Wrong?
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This paper is an attempt to answer the charge that extreme moral particularism is unable to explain the possibility of moral concepts and our ability to acquire them. This charge is based on the claim that we acquire moral concepts from experience of instances, and that the sorts of similarities that there must be between the instances are ones that only a generalist can countenance. I argue that this inference is unsound.
8. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Margarita M. Valdés Practical Ethics and Moral Objectivism
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Moral philosophers working today on concrete moral issues seem to assume certain views that are opposite to those of their predecessors; chief among these is that morality has an objective basis, that it is not just the result of subjective reactions, but comprises a body of beliefs acquired through some kind of perception of certain traits of reality. However, the reasons for thinking that people who discuss substantive moral issues are committed to moral objectivism are either not very clear or not entirely convincing. In what follows I shall examine the reasons given by John Mackie for considering that the use of first-level moral language—the language frequently used in the discussion of concrete moral problems—commits the user to moral objectivism.
9. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Ricardo Maliandi Principios de Equidad Discursiva
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This paper relates the concept of “discourse” (in the discourse-ethics’ meaning) with the concept of “social justice.” I maintain that the social nature of reason is a condition of possibility of such justice. According to the Alexy-Habermas system, the rules for the practical discourse mean in their third level the conditions of symmetry, that is, the absence of privileges among the participants. My paper introduces the concept of discursive fairness, referred to the requirements for maintaining the discursive symmetry, even under circumstances of non-discursive, but real asymmetry. Two principles of discursive fairness are offered (by analogy to Rawls’ “principles of justice”): 1. equality of rights among the participants in the practical discourse, and 2. possibility of reviewing all arguments used in the discourse, together with guarantees of benefits for the unsuccessful participants.
10. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Gunnar Skirbekk Discourse-Ethical Gradualism: Beyond Anthropocentrism and Biocentrism?
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My question is the following: to what extent is ethical anthropocentrism tenable? In a “discourse ethical” perspective I will consider some case-oriented arguments in favor of a paradigmatically unique ethical standing for humans and some arguments in favor of an ethical gradualism between humans and other mammals and between humans and nature, ending with a conclusion in favor of a fair treatment of all moral subjects, human and non-human.