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141. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jan Narveson Kerrey and Calley: What Is the Moral Difference?
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In the Vietnam war, Lieutenant Calley, claiming to be following orders, ordered the killing of several hundred women, children, and elderly people in the village of My Lai. In 1969, Lieutenant (later Senator) Kerrey led a small group of SEALs in the dead of night on a dangerous military venture. In course, a dozen or so innocent villagers were either shot in crossfire or killed intentionally because there seemed a real chance that they would inform the enemy, endangering themselves and the mission. I argue that Calley was clearly not justified and that Kerrey, given the circumstances, may have been. More generally, I argue that all soldiers at all ranks must be expected to act decently, with as much regard to the distinction of civilian/combatant as circumstances permit. That one is following superiors’ orders is never sufficient, of itself, to justify what would otherwise be grossly evil acts.
142. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Mike W. Martin Provoking Thoughts on Professionalism
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In this book, Michael Davis, one of the most insightful writers on professional ethics, substantially revises and integrates fifteen of his previously published articles, making them available to a wider audience. Several professions are emphasized: law, engineering, and police work (including international law enforcement). Yet the topics discussed have relevance to all areas of professional ethics: defining professions, the moral authority of professional codes, intelligently interpreting codes, professional autonomy and discretion, dirty hands, and goals in teaching professional ethics.
143. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Tom Grassey When He Was a Young Man
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This article examines the events in Thanh Phong, Vietnam, on the night of 25.26 February 1969, when Lieutenant (junior grade) Bob Kerrey led a squad of U.S. Navy SEa-Air-Land (SEAL)s on a mission to capture a Viet Cong district chief. It studies the events at an outlying hooch the SEALs encountered as they approached the village, and what happened in Thanh Phong, examining several sources, most notably Gregory Vistica’s New York Times Magazine article and Kerrey.s recent memoir, When I Was a Young Man. The article explains the differing accounts at the hooch and in the village, and considers whether military necessity, fear for their own lives, or obedience to superior orders can justify what these accounts offer. It concludes that neither Gerhard Klann.s nor the combined conflicting versions offered as his “best memory” by Kerrey gives sufficient reason to justify the deaths of about two dozen Vietnamese civilians.
144. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Daniel A. Dombrowski Rawls and War
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The purpose of the present article is to explicate John Rawls’s views on war as they are scattered across several of his writings. Three claims are made: (1) Rawls is generally a just war theorist who usually argues against the “realist” view of war; (2) Under the influence of Michael Walzer, however, Rawls ends up making an illadvised concession to the realist view concerning conditions of “supreme emergency”; and (3), despite Rawls’s blend of just war theory/realism, the logic of his theory of justice and his political liberalism should push him in the opposite direction toward a blend of just war theory/pacifism.
145. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Yotam Lurie The Ontology of Sports Injuries: Professional Ethics of Sports Medicine
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Disclosing the ontology of sports injuries by looking closer at their meaning provides us with insight into the professional ethics of the sports medicine specialist. The aim of this article is twofold: to disclose the “the ontology of sports injuries,” and to use the disclosure as an insightful perspective for dwelling on the ethics of sports medicine. Because of the unique nature of sports, the standard ethical prescriptions usually associated with medical ethics are of little use for the sports medicine specialist in treating sport injuries. In spelling out the special ethical context of sports medicine, this paper suggests several distinctions. I propose several models, which provide different conceptions of what constitutes a sport injury: (1) The Medical Model; (2) The Normative Model; (3) The Liberal Model; (4) The Phenomenological Model. The implications of each of these models for sports medicine is assessed, and through them the concept of a sports injury is clarified in a way that can assist us in inferring what is to be done from an ethical point of view.
146. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Messay Kebede Generational Imbalance and Disruptive Change
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According to most scholars, what defines modernity is the prevalence of change and mobility in all aspects of life, as opposed to traditionality in which immobility of beliefs and statuses is said to be the dominant trait. One major implication of this definition is the conclusion that the occurrence of modernity involves generational conflicts on the grounds that older people are less open to innovation and change. This paradigm of modernity has led to the exclusion of elders from political life in Third World countries, especially in those countries that opted for a revolutionary course. In light of traditional views of old age and recent gerontological findings, this paper examines the validity of the assumption according to which younger leadership is best equipped to achieve modernity in developing countries. It finds out that both factual and theoretical considerations underline that integration as much as deviation defines positive change and that the failure of generational interaction results in detrimental outcomes.
147. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Ali Paya “Dialogue” In a “Real World”: Quixotic Pursuit or sine qua non?
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Can dialogue make real impact on the state of affairs in the real world, or is it a pastime of the polite societies or a lullaby useful for sending gullible grown-ups into “sleep”? In the present paper, following a two-tier analysis of the notion of dialogue, as “shared exploration towards greater understanding, connection, or possibility,” and as a product of our “collective intentionality,” I shall develop a bifurcated argument. Against the cynic pundits, who preach that realpolitik and not dialogue is the name of the game in our daily interactions with each other, I shall argue that in an increasingly pluralistic world, dialogue is a powerful and indispensable means for making desirable changes. Similarly, against the over-enthusiastic optimists who believe that dialogue provides us with a magical wand, I shall argue that dialogue is as good as we can make it: dialogue cannot work miracles in a vacuum of collective will. The upshot of my argument is that firstly, dialogue is an indicator of the rationality and maturity of the social actors: the more rational the social actors the more ubiquitous and effective the dialogue and vice versa. And secondly, although, dialogue itself may lead to frustration or even violence, it is the absence of dialogue that poses the greatest danger for the future of mankind.
148. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Peter Johnstone, Joe Frank Jones, III Noble Cause Police Corruption: Suggestions for Training
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This essay confronts police corruption historically and conceptually, isolating noble cause corruption as a neglected yet powerful motivator of corrupt police behavior. Noble cause corruption is defined in some detail and several specific suggestions are made regarding police training programs to address the issue.
149. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Matthew A. Lavery Vox Populi?: Morality, Politics, and The New York Times’s Ethicist
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In examining Randy Cohen, an ethical advice giver for The New York Times Magazine, this article traces out special concerns of “applied philosophers” including: dissemination of ideas through a media, disparity of public understanding of philosophical (particularly ethical) issues and the contributions to these issues by specific people, and, of course, money. It skips the question of whether or not what Cohen does is philosophy in favor of examining how whatever he does is like the philosophy that philosophers often claim to be doing. Cohen, then, is a doppelganger for philosophers, particularly those working in applied philosophy, that needs to be considered. The way he wades through a big-business format to discuss individual concerns may provide a model (even if it is of what not to do) for philosophers looking to actually affect change with their ethical pronouncements.
150. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Richard Greene Does the Non-Identity Problem Block a Class of Arguments Against Cloning?
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One class of argument against cloning human beings in the contemporary literature focuses on the bad consequences that will befall the clone or “later-twin.” In this paper I consider whether this line of argumentation can be blocked by invoking Parfit’s non-identity problem. I canvass two general strategies for solving the non-identity problem: a consequentialist strategy and a non-consequentialist, rights based strategy. I argue that while each general strategy offers a plausible solution to the non-identity problem as applied to the cases most frequently discussed in the non-identity problem literature, neither provides a reason for puttingaside the non-identity problem when applied to cloning. I conclude (roughly) that the non-identity problem does serve to block this class of argument against cloning.
151. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Bindu Madhok, Selva J. Raj Lower Income Hindu Women’s Attitude Towards Abortion: A Case Study in Urban India
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After a brief discussion of Hindu views on abortion as reflected in classical Hindu philosophical and religious texts, this article examines, from an interdisciplinary perspective, current social attitudes towards abortion among lower-income Hindu women in Calcutta and attempts to identify the reasons for the striking disparity between traditional and modern Hindu views. Does Hindu dharma have the regulatory power it wielded in the past? What accounts for the changing face of mores in urban centers like Calcutta? These and related issues are the focus of this essay.
152. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Vittorio Bufacchi Empirical Philosophy: Theory and Practice
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This article takes the first steps towards a new approach in applied philosophy, in the hope to encourage an idea of philosophy as a more empirical subject. Part I will provide an overview of the nature and scope of applied philosophy, followed in Part II by a critical evaluation of the “top-down” methodology still popular with many applied philosophers. Part III will then describe the basic axioms of “empirical philosophy,” explaining how the empirical approach differs from the top-down approach. Part IV will provide a reply to the standard criticism regarding the proposed marriage between empirical research and philosophy. Part V will test the validity of “empirical philosophy” on practical terms.
153. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Stephen Kershnar Respect for Persons and the Harsh Punishment of Criminals
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In this paper, I explore whether harsh treatment fails to respect the criminal as a person. I focus on the most extreme treatment because if such treatment can satisfy the duty to respect a criminal as a person then less extreme cases (e.g., incarceration, fines, shaming practices) can also do so. I begin by filling out the notion of a duty to respect a person. Here I set out an account of autonomy and then show that it grounds the duty to respect a person. Next, I use this account of the duty to lay out a three-part test for whether harsh treatment respects a criminal as a person. I then apply this test and conclude that it does where the treatment does not infringe on the criminal’s rights, exploit him, or express contempt for him.
154. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Gordon Steinhoff Alternatives Evaluation Under NEPA: What Constitutes a “Reasonable” Alternative?
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The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared whenever a proposed federal project will significantly harm the environment. The EIS must include an analysis of the environmental impacts of the project and an evaluation of alternatives. Federal regulations implementing NEPA mandate that an EIS include an evaluation of “reasonable” alternatives. Unfortunately, the regulations do not specify what constitutes a “reasonable” alternative. The courts have attempted for more than thirty years to come to grips with the problem of what makes an alternative “reasonable.” In this paper, I discuss court decisions that have significantly influenced our understanding. I offer my own interpretation, relying on a distinction between the “essential” purposes of a project and the non-essential, merely desirable, purposes. An alternative that satisfies the essential purposes of a project is reasonable and must be given an in-depth evaluation in the EIS. If adopted, my interpretation would enable NEPA to be more effective in promoting environmental values in the actions of federal agencies.
155. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Susan Feldman Should Threatened Languages Be Conserved?
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In this paper I examine the justification of proposals to conserve threatened languages, those in danger of dying out from the lack of primary speakers. These proposals presuppose that there is value in the continued existence of languages, and I explore the different kinds of value involved: instrumental, aesthetic, subjective, and cognitive, the last involving the ability of each language to express distinctive thoughts. The attempt to retain the cognitive value of a language underlies proposals to conserve a pool of primary speakers of threatened languages. Analyzing cognitive value in terms of Rolston’s systemic value flags a dual problem for conservation proposals: attempts to conserve the cognitive value of a language may be futile and attempts to defeat the factors creating the futility are morally problematic. The other values of language may still justify morally permissible projects to conserve or preserve threatened languages.
156. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
James P. Sterba The Michigan Cases and Furthering the Justification for Affirmative Action
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In this paper, I endorse the decision of the Supreme Court of the U.S. in Bollinger v. Grutter (2003). I argue that the educational benefits of diversity are an important enough state interest to justify the use of racial preferences and that, especially due to the absence of race-neutral alternatives, this use of racial preferences is narrowly tailored to that state interest. However, I also indicate that I am willing to give up my support for diversity affirmative action in the U.S. for a $25 billion a year education program to put in place a quality educational system K through 12 for every child in the country. Unfortunately, I have yet to find any critics of affirmative action who are also willing to support such a program.
157. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Terence J. Pell The Nature of Claims About Race and the Debate Over Racial Preferences
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In this paper, I argue that assertions about the value of diversity rely on contradictory and incommensurable claims. As a result, institutions like the Supreme Court find it impossible to articulate an impartial standard for the appropriate use of race in college admissions. I argue that in the absence of such a standard, institutions inevitably fall back on engineering proportional racial outcomes, a method of college admissions that disproportionately harms minority students.
158. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Terence J. Pell Comments on Sterba’s “The Michigan Cases and Furthering the Justification of Affirmative Action”
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In my comments on Prof. Sterba’s paper, I argue that evidence about the educational value of racial preferences reveals not that these policies produce good educational outcomes, but that schools use racial preferences regardless of whether they produce desirable outcomes. I further argue that in the absence of objective evidence about the value of racial preferences, proponents of these policies tend to rely on personal anecdotes. Often, these anecdotes reveal complex institutional and personal motives having little to do with the objective value of racial diversity.
159. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
James P. Sterba Comments on Pell’s “The Nature of Claims About Race and the Debate Over Racial Preferences”
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In my comments on Mr. Pell’s paper, I consider the premises of his argument against diversity affirmative action showing how these premises can be either reasonably rejected or reformulated so that what remains from his argument is a set of premises that supports, or at least is consistent with, a defense of diversity affirmative action.
160. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Asher Seidel Facing Immortality
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This study is primarily a call to philosophers to attend the concerns raised by the increasing possibility of indefinitely extended human life. While these concerns are largely moral and socio-political, questions arising from this possibility are seen to involve other philosophical areas, including epistemology.Starting with the age-old desire for extended, enjoyable life, possible strategies for realizing such life are considered. Such realization is shown to conflict with the desire for children. Various reasons for choice between the alternatives of indefinitely extended life and what is currently understood to be a normal life, including the possibility of offspring, are examined. Competing social visions are sketched for the purpose of resolving this dilemma. It is argued that humanity’s likely choice from among the competing social sketches favors the decision for extended life against that for limited lifespan with the possibility of children. Assuming that the extended life will be a life of learning leads to epistemological considerations regarding what is to be learned.