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161. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Wendy Barger Voice for America?: A Feminist Analysis of Thomas Friedman’s Pulitzer-Winning Commentary
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In April 2002, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for a series of columns he wrote in the months following September 11. On the surface, the columns seemed to fit Cummins Gauthier’s criteria for public grieving: they engaged readers emotionally; they empathized with victims and survivors; and they helped readers develop moral attitudes, opinions and responses. However, in analyzing the columns from a feminist ethic of care perspective—one that expands the boundaries of the moral community beyond the borders of a nation-state—one finds that Friedman’s columns can distort the process of public grieving, leading citizens toward anger and an “us” verus “them” mentality rather than healing and a genuine concern that embraces the value of all human beings.
162. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
William Hare Is It Good to Be Open-Minded?
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Although open-mindedness is still widely regarded as an intellectual virtue and an aim of education, it is also commonly held that this attitude carries with it certain implications that ultimately threaten serious inquiry. In particular, open-mindedness is often thought (i) to encourage credulity, (ii) to discourage the formation of definite views, and (iii) to detract from the tenacious pursuit of an idea. These confusions turn up in the work of reputable philosophers and it is important to address them if cynicism about this ideal is to be avoided. Properly understood, open-mindedness is free from these unwelcome consequences, and it remains central to the task of education.
163. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Fritz Allhoff Terrorism and Torture
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This paper investigates the moral permissibility of torture. After briefly considering some empirical evidence, it discusses the conflict between deontological and consequentialist approaches to torture. It is argued that, even if we are to take rights seriously, torture should at least be allowed if some conditions are satisfied. Finally, the paper discusses what those conditions should be and what sorts of torture are morally permissible.
164. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Lee Wilkins Militant Tolerance
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This essay calls for consideration of a “new” professional journalistic virtue: militant tolerance. The historic and philosophical foundations of tolerance is reviewed, and the concept of militant tolerance linked to Gandhi’s construction of “truth force” as a form of political action. Journalistic militant tolerance suggests that virtuous journalists will be those who recognize hate and systemic discrimination, particularly at the institutional level, and who work to counteract it in a professional role. This understanding of role emphasizes not just individual choice, but the stance that journalistic institutions (media corporations, professional groups) take to counteract intolerance reified in both individual and institutional acts. Philosophically, it places justice on a more equal footing with truth as a central professional value. The concept is examined through two case studies, one involving political rhetoric and the second journalistic use of whistleblowers.
165. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Saul Smilansky The Inevitability of Injustice: What to Do?
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Few will dispute the claim that existing societies are unjust, although of course there are vast differences in the forms and degrees of injustice in them. Nevertheless, most probably think that a just social order is possible, or at least would be possible except for the narrowmindedness, stupidity or selfishness of individuals and social groups. This, I argue, is a mistake. Injustice is inevitable; indeed it is part of the human condition. My case is based upon the free will problem. I consider objections to this claim, and what we should do if it is true.
166. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
David B. Fletcher Gambling and Character
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Legalized gambling has all the hallmarks of a large-scale moral and social concern, yet, remarkably, philosophers have paid scarce attention to the moral issues surrounding this phenomenon. I believe that this neglect is unjustified. While much could be said about gambling in terms of its social impact, I offer an account on the moral status of gambling and avoid the temptation to give a “thin” account in simply categorizing gambling as “permissible” or “impermissible.” I attempt to assess its impact on character and the moral life, felt in five closely interrelated ways. In particular, I will argue that gambling A) injures self-control, fosters moral incontinence, and indeed courts addiction; B) involves greed; C) shows a disregard for money that is incompatible with responsible care of one’s resources; D) cultivates indifference to others’ welfare; and E) represents a reckless assault on practical rationality, the faculty necessary for the moral life and the discharge of one’s responsibilities.
167. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Kenneth Einar Himma What Philosophy of Mind Can Tell Us About the Morality of Abortion: Personhood, Materialism, and the Existence of Self
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I attempt to show that, under materialist assumptions about the nature of mind, it is a necessary condition for fetal personhood that electrical activity has begun in the brain. First, I argue that it is a necessary condition for a thing to be a moral person that it is (or has) a self—understood as something that is capable of serving as the subject of a mental experience. Second, I argue that it is a necessary condition for a fetus to be (or have) a self that some form of electrical brain activity occurs. Third, I argue that since the beginning of brain activity typically occurs at around 10 weeks of gestational age, most fetuses are not persons during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and hence that abortion of most fetuses during this period does not rise to the moral level of murder.
168. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Lisa H. Newton Gambling: Some Afterthoughts
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This article responds to the preceding papers by Fletcher and Pasternack. Accepting Fletcher’s virtue-based approach as a useful starting point, it suggests the need for more careful philosophical work on the morality of gambling.
169. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Lawrence Pasternack Gambling Maxims and their Universalizability
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This paper explores the moral status of various gambling maxims, particularly as they relate to the bettor’s interest in profit and the mathematical expectation of the game being played. Certain difficulties with the prevailing interpretations of the Formula of Universalizability will also be discussed, particularly in relation to games for which the bettor can have a positive expectation.
170. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
James Rice The End of Human Rights?
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In an article entitled, “Imagining Human Rights” Professor Ian Ward considers the fate of human rights at the beginning of the twenty-first century. While, as he argues, human rights have been seen as an epitome of liberalism’s triumph, this perception has come to be regarded as a delusion amid the acts of genocide and inhumanity that have characterized the past decade. Ward argues for a re-evaluation of the idea of human rights through an accommodation of “sense and sensibility” that allows for a vision of a pluralistic conception of human rights. This paper seeks to refute this view. In this respect, it examines Kant’s views on human freedom as well as the relevance of Dworkin’s notion of “integrity” in terms of achieving a workable framework for the achievement of human rights despite diverse and competing notions of justice.
171. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Jan Narveson Terrorism and Pacifism: Why We Should Condemn Both
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Pacifism and terrorism are at opposite ends of one spectrum: pacifists have too many friends; terrorists have too many enemies. The indiscriminacy robs both of any credibility. Both fail to distinguish between aggressors and their victims. Discussion of terrorism, however, is complicated by insufficient attention to the distinction between noncombatants and innocents. Just War theory relies heavily on that distinction, providing protections to noncombatants as such, without going into the further question of innocence. Terrorism thus violates the restrictions on justice within combat, as well as those on just cause. And in the end, it invites retaliation in kind, which is tantamount, nearly, to moving battle back to the Hobbesian State of nature.
172. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
John Alan Cohan Is Hunting a “Sport”?
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This essay discusses the question of whether hunting is a competitive sport. The discussion approaches this issue from several angles. The author asserts that there is an anthropomorphic fallacy that the “superiority” of human beings justifies the “right” to exploit animals. The discussion turns to an historical analysis of how hunting emerged as a “sport.” The author discusses evolving standards of what constitutes acceptable forms of amusement, and the basis of moral criticisms of hunting. The author then claims that the techniques commonly employed in hunting constitute animal cruelty. As a further analysis, the author points out a series of asymmetries between competitive sports and hunting, including the claim that sports are structured around and indeed constituted by a set of rules, in contrast to hunting. The essay then discusses wildlife management and distinguishes that from hunting.
173. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Pilhong Hwang Liberal Pornographic Rights: Private Right over Public Menace
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The conservative antipornographic premise (“defined and connected”) should be faulted for its groundlessness. Thus, conservative state censorship should be challenged by liberal individual rights to pornography and further by the value of moral harm. Along with the spirit of J. S. Mill’s harm principle, the right to free speech, including of course pornographic right, must prevail. And a number of feminist challenges to free pornographic rights are replied to in a variety of ways by some liberal thinkers who believe in the supremacy of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. The concept of neutralizability may be added among those replies. Liberal pornographic rights prevail these days.
174. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Leslie Cannold Do We Need a Normative Account of the Decision to Parent?
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This paper provides an analysis of several philosophically interesting results of a recent study of the fertility decision-making of thirty-five childless/childfree Australian and American women. While most of the women in the study endorsed and expanded on longstanding normative prescriptions for how a “good” mother ought to feel and behave, they were at a loss (at times quite literally) to explain why a woman should decide to mother in the first place. For several women, this difficulty led them to conclude that a decision to have a child was “irrational.” After seeking to explain how women understood this term and why some drew this conclusion, I will argue that applied philosophers should respond to the findings by creating normative accounts of the decision to parent. Suggestions are made about what such accounts should include, and avoid, to ensure relevance to women and acceptability to both feminist and non-feminist philosophers.
175. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Keith Bauer Distributive Justice and Rural Healthcare: A Case for E-Health
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People living in rural areas make up 20 percent of the U.S. population, but only 9 percent of physicians practice there. This uneven distribution is significant because rural areas have higher percentages of people in poverty, elderly people, people lacking health insurance coverage, and people with chronic diseases. As a way of ameliorating these disparities, e-health initiatives are being implemented. But the rural e-health movement raises its own set of distributive justice concerns about the digital divide. Moreover, even if the digital divide is overcome, e-health services may be of an inferior quality compared to face-to-face medical encounters. In this paper, I argue that before we can fully understand the distributive justice implications of e-health, we must first understand what distributive justice means. I argue that five elements—fairness, quality, accessibility, availability, and efficiency—constitute a general conception of justice and that all of these elements must be considered when evaluating e-health for rural health profession shortage areas. In doing so, it may be necessary to make important tradeoffs among these elements. I then examine the development of e-health programs in light of Rawls’s principle of equal opportunity and Daniels’s notion of species-typical functioning. I conclude that in the context of e-health, Rawls’s principle should be expanded to include geography as a prima facie morally relevant criterion for allocating healthcare benefits. I also conclude that Daniels’s notion of species-typical functioning provides grounds for thinking of health and some healthcare services as special goods.
176. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Patrick Lee Plaisance Justifications for Our Free Speech: Examining the Role of Autonomous Agency in Scanlon’s Moral Theory
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In two influential articles setting forth his arguments against restrictions on free expression in the 1970s, Harvard philosopher T. M. Scanlon suggested and later rejected the notion that autonomous agency ought to be a primary constraint on most justifications used to restrict speech. The concept of autonomy, he said, was “notoriously vague and slippery” as a basis for judging free-speech restrictions. Instead, Scanlon argued that free expression—and proposed restrictions on it—should be justified in terms of our various “interests” in speech as participants and as audience members. Reliance on autonomy does not provide the justificatory force for a theory of free expression, he said. However, in his landmark 1998 book, What We Owe to Each Other, Scanlon relies heavily on autonomous agency as the foundation of several of his key claims. Scanlon’s claims that our “interests” to protect free expression conflict with his reliance on autonomous agency in What We Owe to Each Other and have important implications for efforts both to cultivate a healthy public sphere and protect the open architecture of the Internet within an increasingly global media culture.
177. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
David Coady Conspiracy Theories and Official Stories
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Conspiracy theories have a bad reputation. This is especially true in the academy and in the media. Within these institutions, to describe someone as a conspiracy theorist is often to imply that his or her views should not be taken seriously. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that philosophers have tended to ignore the topic, despite the enduring appeal of conspiracy theories in popular culture. Recently, however, some philosophers have at least treated conspiracy theorists respectfully enough to try to articulate where they go wrong.I begin this paper by clarifying the nature of conspiracy theories. I then argue against some recent critiques of conspiracy theories. Many criticisms of conspiracy theories are unfounded. I also argue that unwillingness to entertain conspiracy theories is an intellectual and moral failing. I end by suggesting an Aristotelian approach to the issue, according to which the intellectual virtue of realism is a golden mean between the intellectual vices of paranoia and naivety.
178. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Andrew Askland Patenting Genes: A Fast and Furious Primer
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Patents have been issued in the United States for genes and gene sequences since 1980. Patent protection has provided incentives to aggressively probe the genome of humans and non-humans alike in search of profitable applications. Yet it is not clear that patent protection should have been afforded to genes and gene sequences and it is increasingly clear that patent protection, as currently formulated, is not an appropriate means to realize the full benefits of genetic research. As we stand on the threshold on a genetically enhanced future, in which we shall have the power to consciously steer our evolution as a species, we need to carefully consider how to shape the benefits of genetic research and how to recognize and contain its detriments.
179. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Alan S. Rosenbaum On Terrorism and the Just War: Some Philosophical Reflections
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In my article I defend the claim that terrorism is morally indefensible, irrespective of the religious or political circumstances and motives behind the actions of its agents and sponsors. My argument is based on the indefeasible presupposition of modern civilization and our human rights culture that, like the prohibition against murder in the law of crimes, the deliberate killing of innocent civilian non-combatants—the principle target of terrorists—destroys the cardinal value of the sacrosanctity of all individual human life by making a dignified or rights-respecting, flourishing social life impossible. In my view the Islamist terrorist network of Al Qaeda (and some Palestinian groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad) offers a paradigm case of modern terrorism due to the success of their attack on the American homeland on 9/11 (2001).Accordingly, I suggest the outlines of a philosophical critique of some common contemporary views which often thwart a common defense against terrorism because they blur the moral clarity of those who ordinarily respect the dignity and basic rights of persons as well as the rule of law. The views I target include a type of moral relativism, a postmodernist perspectivism, and the “Blowback” thesis currently circulating in some official military and political precincts. In addition, I explain why terrorism so deeply offends the law of war and its correlative Just War tradition; and also I reflect on why rights-based democracies must confront terrorism without subverting their own foundations.
180. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Elliot D. Cohen Lethal Sex: Conditions of Disclosure in Counseling Sexually Active Clients with HIV
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Confidentiality in psychological counseling is necessary if clients are to feel comfortable in revealing their darkest secrets. But this bond of trust has its moral limits. These limits are crossed in some cases in which HIV positive clients are sexually active with unsuspecting third parties. Distinguishing between Type 1 and Type 2 cases, the author shows how he has used applied ethics in drafting and defending a model rule for the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics that permits, and sometimes morally requires disclosure in the former cases, but not in the latter.