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11. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Gilbert Harman Moral Philosophy and Linguistics
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Any acceptable account of moral epistemology must accord with the following points. (1) Different people acquire seemingly very different moralities. (2) All normal people acquire a moral sense, whether or not they are given explicit moral instruction. Language resembles morality in these ways. There is considerable evidence from linguistics for linguistic universals. This suggests that (3) despite the first point, there are moral universals. If so, it might be possible to develop a moral epistemology that is analogous to the theory of universal grammar in linguistics. In what follows, I will try to sketch what might be involved in such a moral epistemology.
12. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong Explanation and Justification in Moral Epistemology
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Recent exchanges among Harman, Thomson, and their critics about moral explanations have done much to clarify this two-decades-old debate. I discuss some points in these exchanges along with five different kinds of moral explanations that have been proposed. I conclude that moral explanations cannot provide evidence within an unlimited contrast class that includes moral nihilism, but some moral explanations can still provide evidence within limited contrast classes where all competitors accept the necessary presuppositions. This points towards a limited version of moral skepticism.
13. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
John Martin Fischer The Value of Moral Responsibility
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Moral responsibility requires control of one’s behavior. But there are different kinds of control. One sort of control entails the existence of genuinely accessible alternative possibilities. I call this regulative control. I believe that an agent can control his or her behavior without having control over it. In such a circumstance, the agent enjoys what I call guidance control, but not regulative control. He guides his behavior in the way characteristic of agents who act freely, yet he does not have alternative possibilities with respect to his decision or action. I contend that moral responsibility requires guidance control, but not regulative control. In this paper, I wish to provide a measure of intuitive appeal to the claim that guidance control is all the control (or freedom) necessary for moral responsibility by sketching the picture that supports this claim.
14. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
John Passmore Philosophy and Ecology
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There was a time when ecological problems were of no interest to philosophy. Now, these issues have raised philosophical problems in several areas. In moral philosophy, one question is what moral obligations, if any, we have to future generations, and another is how far we have moral obligations relating to the treatment and the preservation of plants, animals and atmospheres. In political philosophy, the issue is the range of such concepts as rights and justice, and whether or not they are limited to human relationships. As to the metaphysical question, we have to ask whether there is something about human beings which entitles us to consider them as being supernatural and whether we can think of Nature as an entity of which each human being constitutes a part.
15. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Holmes Rolston, III Nature and Culture In Environmental Ethics
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The pivotal claim in environmental ethics is that humans in their cultures are out of sustainable relationships to the natural environments comprising the landscapes on which these cultures are superimposed. But bringing such culture into more intelligent relationships with the natural world requires not so much “naturalizing culture” as discriminating recognition of the radical differences between nature and culture, on the basis of which a dialectical ethic of complementarity may be possible. How far nature can and ought be managed and be transformed into humanized nature, resulting in “the end of nature,” is a provocative question. Environmental ethics ought also to seek nature as an end in itself.
16. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Alasdair MacIntyre Moral Pluralism Without Moral Relativism
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When we deny the truth of someone else’s moral beliefs and give our grounds for so doing, we make or imply judgments about the inadequacy of their reasons for belief and about the causes of their belief. And we presuppose a difference between them and us in both respects. In so doing we provide matter for a shared philosophical inquiry about the relevant types of reason and cause. It is a mark of rational disagreement on matters of serious moral import that we who so disagree should be prepared to engage in this inquiry and to recognize its standards as binding on us unqualifiedly. This recognition commits us to a denial of moral relativism. Some of these best examples of rational disagreement are found in some, although only some, of the exchanges between medieval Islamic, Jewish and Christian philosophers.
17. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Robin Attfield Depth, Trusteeship, and Redistribution
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I review some themes of Naess’s “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements” article and Routley’s “Is there a Need for a New, An Environmental Ethic?” presentation at the 1973 World Congress. Naess’s affiliation to the Deep Ecology Movement deserves acclaim, theoretic entanglements notwithstanding. Routley advocated a new ethic because no Judaeo-Christian ethical tradition could cope with widespread environmental intuitions. However, the ethical tradition of stewardship can satisfy such concerns. It is compatible with environmental values, need not be managerial, and can assume a secular form. But the related res- ponsibilities vary with wealth and power, and structural change is necessary to empower people currently unable to uphold it.
18. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Matti Häyry, Tuija Takala Biotechnology and the Environment: From Moral Objections to Ethical Analyses
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Rights can be founded in a variety of ethical systems—e.g., on natural law, on the duties postulated by deontological ethics, and on the consequences of our actions. The concept of risk we will outline supports a theory of rights which provides at least individual human beings with the entitlement not to be harmed by the environmental impacts of biotechnology. The analysis can, we believe, also be extended to the rights of animals as well as ecosystems, both of which can be harmed by human actions. We argue that further examination of these harms and rights would be the best way to proceed from emotional moral objections to truly ethical analyses in the context of biotechnology and the environment.
19. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
So Hung-yul Pluralism and the Moral Mind
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Cultural pluralism has caused disturbing problems for philosophers in applied ethics. If moral sanctions, theories, and applications are culturally bound, then moral conflicts ensuing from cultural differences would seem to be irresolvable. Even human nature, good or evil, is not free from cultural determination. One way out of this pluralistic impasse is the expansion of the moral mind. It is the outlet taken by religion, the arts, and philosophy from the earliest time in human culture. In philosophy we find an authentic example of this in Socrates. Following the practice of Socrates, we can try to expand the moral mind philosophically, that is, by working on various forms of reasoning, both deductive and non-deductive, including induction, abduction, dialectics, analogy, and pragmatics.
20. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 1
Jorge L. A. Garcia Beyond Biophobic Medical Ethics: What’s the Mercy in Mercy-Killing?
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A genuine bioethics would be fiercely devoted to human life (bios) and would express that devotion by articulating as well as advocating moral virtues that rigorously protect that value against the temptation to see life in purely instrumental terms. In my view, no genuine bioethics exists today. In what follows, I will question two fundamental assumptions often presumed in discussions of euthanasia and assisted suicide. These are (i) the agent does will her victim (i.e., her putative beneficiary) some significant human good, e.g., relief from pain, escape from becoming a burden to loved ones, a dignified death, or simply self-determination; (ii) in purposely helping someone to kill herself or in killing her for her own good, the agent wills her no serious harm. Put differently, I question the assumption of ‘mercy’ in so-called ‘mercy-killing’.