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161. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Janet McCracken Falsely, Sanely, Shallowly: Reflections on the Special Character of Grief
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Our reluctance to demystify grief is a sign of the distinctive obligation and discomfort that people feel towards those who have died. These feelings, however, are instructive about the nature of grief. As a vehicle of a living person’s relation to the dead, grief is mysterious—and we are rightly reluctant to take that mystery away. But grief is not to be avoided by philosophy on that account. I defend a less Romantic view of grief, in which a grieving person’s experience of “normal” grief: 1) is felt to require an objectively recognized loss; 2) is felt to be dedicated to that lost object; 3) seems to most people to be something that she ought to feel; and 4) probably ought not to be medicalized, nor consequently medicated. This view of grief affords an understanding and appreciation of this rather special and important emotion without reducing its mystery.
162. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
William Patterson To Fight or Not to Fight?: The Ethics of Military Desertion
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Many controversial issues have come under discussion regarding the recent war in Iraq. The justifications given for the war itself, the way the war was prosecuted, and the handling of the post-war situation have all been hotly contested matters. This paper focuses on an aspect of the war that has not drawn much attention—the decisions made by members of the Iraqi military to either fight or not to fight. From the very beginning of hostilities the United States made concerted efforts, through such methods as e-mails and leaflets dropped from aircraft, to encourage the desertion of Iraqi military personnel. Many Iraqi soldiers followed this advice and surrendered to U.S. forces at the first opportunity; others continue to fight to this day. Were the soldiers that deserted the military or surrendered without a fight morally justified in doing so? This article attempts to answer that question through an examination of such related issues as patriotism, political and moral duties, obligations arising from oaths and promises, and political legitimacy. Though this analysis does not lead to the development of iron-clad rules that definitively resolve the moral issues underlying military desertion, it can help us to get a clearer understanding of these issues and to develop guidelines by which to judge the morality of specific instances of desertion.
163. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
An Ravelingien, André Krom Earning Points for Moral Behavior: Organ Allocation Based on Reciprocity
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Anticipating the reevaluation of the Dutch organ procurement system, in late 2003 the Rathenau Institute published a study entitled ‘Gift or Contribution?’ In this study, the author, Govert den Hartogh, carries out a thorough moral analysis of the problem of organ shortage and fair allocation of organs. He suggests there should be a change in mentality whereby organ donation is no longer viewed in terms of charity and the volunteer spirit, but rather in terms of duty and reciprocity. The procurement and allocation of donor organs should be seen as a system of mutually assured help. Fair allocation would imply to give priority to those who recognize and comply with their duty: the registered donors. The idea of viewing organ donation as an undertaking involving mutual benefit rather than as a matter of charity, however, is not new. Notwithstanding the fact that reference to charity and altruism is not required in order for the organ donation to be of moral significance, we will argue against the reciprocity-based scenario. Steering organ allocation towards those who are themselves willing to donate organs is both an ineffective and morally questionable means of attempting to counter the organ shortage.
164. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
A. T. Anchustegui Biocentric Ethics and Animal Prosperity
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Singer’s utilitarian and Regan’s deontological views must be rejected because: (1) they rely on criteria for moral standing that can only be known a priori and (2) if these criteria were successful, they’d be too restrictive. I hold that while mental properties may be sufficient for moral standing, they are not necessary. (3) Their criteria of moral standing do not unambiguously abrogate needless harm to animals. I defend a theory of biocentric individualism that upholds the principle of species egalitarianism while at the same time recognizing that in certain cases, human needs must outweigh the needs of non-humans. On this view, moral consideration is not conferred only on beings that have human-like mental properties. Finally, it offers an unambiguous recommendation for the abolition of harmful animal experimentation, factory farming, and killing animals for sport.
165. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Miron Mushkat, Roda Mushkat The Political Economy of Recasting the Constitutional Debate in Hong Kong
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People obtain value, or gain utility, from procedures rather than merely from outcomes. Academic researchers are slowly and selectively coming to terms with this fact, but it is neither sufficiently nor widely appreciated by actors in Hong Kong’s political arena, whether at the center or on the periphery. The territory is grappling with the issue of democratic reform—both its pace and scope—but the heated exchanges between the proponents and the opponents of representative government are confined to the outcome utility of the various constitutional proposals. It is essential to incorporate the procedural element into this incomplete picture.
166. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Wendy Wyatt Barger True Confessions of The New York Times: Making Moral Meaning from the Discourse of Flawed Iraq Coverage
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On the morning of May 26, 2004, New York Times readers found a note from the paper’s editors on Page A10. The headline read “From the Editors—The Times and Iraq,” and the 1,000-word article that followed served as a disclosure that the Times had failed in its duty of both aggressive information gathering and careful reporting with a critical eye. Response to the note was fast and widespread as newspeople across the country commented on the paper’s public admission of its flawed coverage. The editors’ note, together with the responses it generated, provides a glimpse into the state of American journalism and the way those enmeshed in it understand and expect the practice to operate. Beyond serving a descriptive purpose, however, the texts can be used to start a discourse in the normative realm, to offer suggestions for how our understanding of journalism perhaps ought to change to better reflect the reality of what is truly a human institution. This paper provides both a descriptive and normative analysis of themes that emerge from the case, and it prompts both journalists and citizens to reflect on the practice and then continue moving forward through a landscape in constant flux.
167. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Harry van der Linden, Josh Clark Economic Migration and Justice
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Our main thesis is that the U.S. has a duty of justice to adopt an open-border policy with regard to economic migrants because it is significantly responsible for the unjust social and economic conditions that bring such migrants to its borders. From this perspective, President Bush’s recent “guest worker” proposal is morally objectionable because it is designed more to serve U.S. business interests than the interests of the migrants. We address three objections to opening borders: it will worsen the economic condition especially of low-skilled native workers; it will harm developing countries by increasing the so-called “brain drain”; and it is preferable to discharge our responsibility to the global poor by increasing development assistance instead of adopting an open-border policy.
168. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Jane Duran Canyons, Gulches, and Rocks: The Concept of Preservation
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An argument is made for the special preservationist value of rock formations and other geological features, independent of their biotic status or aesthetic appeal. The work of Passmore, Hay and other contemporary ecological thinkers is cited.
169. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
S. K. Wertz Are Genetically Modified Foods Good for You? A Pragmatic Answer
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A review of the arguments that make up the current controversy on genetically modified foods (GMFs) is briefly given as well as an assessment of their cogency. The two main arguments for GMFs are utilitarian (we can feed a greater number of people with them than without) and environmental (we can increase the food supply without diminishing the wilderness areas by displacing them with farm land). The arguments against evolve around the idea of unforeseen consequences which could have irreversible effects on the food supply and consumers. A major philosophical issue centers on the claim that genetic engineering is equivalent to conventional breeding (the advocates claim this) and the opponents who deny the equivalence. Because of the uncertainties involved in GMFs, it is suggested that their labeling, in addition to non-GMFs’ labeling, should be enforced so that the public can make their own decision as to what they should eat. The inference drawn from this debate is that we should proceed on a case by case basis, because of the rapidly changing biotechnologies.
170. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
James P. Sterba Why the U.S. Must Immediately Withdraw from Iraq
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In this paper, I argue that the U.S. and its coalition partners should announce that they intend to completely withdraw from Iraq within six months or less. And if this announcement did bring a suspension or reduction of hostilities against them, then, I argue, they should leave even sooner. For the most part, my grounds for holding this view are based on the lack of a justification for going to war against Iraq in the first place. But part of the grounds for an immediate withdrawal turns on what has transpired since the U.S. and its coalition partners invaded Iraq.
171. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Christopher W. Tindale Tragic Choices: Reaffirming Absolutes in the Torture Debate
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Events over the last decade have returned the issue of interrogational torture to one of immediate and urgent concern, as governments attempt to circumvent the constraints of the UN Convention against Torture. Philosophers still favor variants of the ‘ticking bomb’ scenario and view with suspicion, if not incomprehension, any absolutist prohibition of torture. In this paper, I reiterate and develop an absolutist position against interrogational torture, arguing that ‘ticking bomb’ scenarios are ill-considered and offer not what they purport to offer. I further make the case that assumptions behind the pro-torture position, particularly based on positive consequences of interrogational torture, are by no means as clear as apparently imagined, and that such practices challenge the very foundations of our moral lives in their attacks on notions of agency and responsibility. In any such extreme choice like the ones that torture presents, we must weigh what we might gain against what we might lose, and we always lose too much.
172. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Fritz Allhoff A Defense of Torture: Separation of Cases, Ticking Time-bombs, and Moral Justification
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In this paper, I argue for the permissibility of torture in idealized cases by application of separation of cases: if torture is permissible given any of the dominant moral theories (and if one of those is correct), then torture is permissible simpliciter and I can discharge the tricky business of trying to adjudicate among conflicting moral views. To be sure, torture is not permissible on all the dominant moral theories as at least Kantianism will prove especially recalcitrant to granting moral license of torture, even in idealized cases. Rather than let the Kantian derail my central argument, I directly argue against Kantianism (and other views with similar commitments) on the grounds that, if they cannot accommodate the intuitions in ticking time-bomb cases, they simply cannot be plausible moral views—these arguments come in both foundationalist and coherentist strains. Finally, I postulate that, even if this paper has dealt with idealized cases, it paves the way for the justification of torture in the real world by removing some candidate theories (e.g., Kantianism) and allowing others that both could and are likely to justify real-world torture.
173. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Seumas Miller Is Torture Ever Morally Justifiable?
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In this paper I argue that torture is morally justified in some extreme emergencies. However, I also argue that notwithstanding the moral permissibility of torture in some extreme emergencies, torture ought not to be legalised or otherwise institutionalised.
174. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Stephen Kershnar For Interrogational Torture
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Interrogational torture is torture that is done in order to gain information. It is wrong if it either wrongs the person being interrogated or is a free-floating wrong. In the relevant cases, interrogational torture need not wrong the person being interrogated. This is because in many cases it doesn’t, and is known not to, infringe on the tortured person’s moral rights. It is not clear whether interrogational torture is a free-floating wrong since we lack confidence in judging whether it violates a consequentialist duty. Even if interrogational torture is morally permissible, it doesn’t follow that it is the best policy for a country to adopt.
175. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Alan S. Rosenbaum On Lost Innocence: A Reply to Miller’s “Terrorism and Collective Responsibility”
176. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Alastair Norcross Peacemaking Philosophy or Appeasement? Sterba’s Argument for Compromise
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In The Triumph of Practice over Theory in Ethics James Sterba is not concerned merely to show that there is much convergence in the practical application of Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Aristotelian virtue ethics. His project is the much more ambitious one of arguing that the theories do not really diverge very much at the theoretical level, and thus supplying an explanation for the apparent convergence at the practical level. Although I applaud him for the boldness, some might even say audacity, of the attempt, I do not think he succeeds. I focus my critique on Sterba’s use of two principles that are crucial to his arguments, the principle of non-question-beggingness, and the “ought implies can” principle. I also criticize his arguments for a biocentric position in his disagreement with Singer over the status of nonsentient life.
177. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
James P. Sterba Responses to Driver, Hooker, and Norcross
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In their critiques of my book, Julia Driver, Brad Hooker, and Alastair Norcross have focused on my argument from rationality to morality that attempts to complete the Kantian project of justifying morality and my use of the “ought” implies “can” principle to reconcile the differences between Kantian and utilitarian ethical perspectives. While treating respectfully the ingenious arguments and counterexamples that each of my critics employs against my views, I explain, in detail, why their arguments and counterexamples do not work against my views, properly interpreted, although they do suggest ways that I might better present my views in the future in order to attract more adherents to my reconciliationist project.
178. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Michael Davis The Moral Justifiability of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment
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Since Henry Shue’s classic 1978 paper on torture, the “ticking-bomb case” has seemed to demonstrate that torture is morally justified in some moral emergencies (even if not as an institution). After presenting an analysis of torture as such and an explanation of why it, and anything much like it, is morally wrong, I argue that the ticking-bomb case demonstrates nothing at all—for at least three reasons. First, it is an appeal to intuition. The intuition is not as widely shared as necessary to constitute the required demonstration. Second, the intuition is not as reliable as necessary for such a demonstration. We lack the experience that would vouch for it. And, third, Shue’s own discussion suggests that what we are intuiting (if we share Shue’s intuition) is an excuse rather than a justification.
179. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
James P. Sterba The Triumph of Practice over Theory in Ethics: An Introduction
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In this introduction, I summarize the main themes of my book, particularly those that my critics have focused on in their papers that follow. I also argue that I could not have reached the conclusions that I have if I hadn’t employed a peacemaking rather than a warmaking way of doing philosophy. I provide a characterization of a peacemaking way of doing philosophy and show how the conclusions of my book depend on doing philosophy in that way.
180. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Brad Hooker Some Questions Not to Be Begged in Moral Theory
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This paper starts by considering Sterba’s argument from non-question-beggingness to morality. The paper goes on to discuss his use of the “ought” implies “can” principle and the place, within moral theorizing, of intuitions about reasonableness.