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21. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Charles Barton Getting Even Again: A Reply to Davis
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In his review of Getting Even: Revenge as a Form of Justice (Open Court: Chicago. 1999). Michael Davis challenges the view put forward in the book that revenge is personal retributive punishment. Davis also claims that “the purpose Barton seeks to achieve under the banner of ‘victims rights’ has no more to do with punishment than with revenge.” In my response, I argue that Davis’s views and conclusions are based partly on a misreading of Getting Even, and partly on mistaken assumptions about the nature of victim rights, justice, punishment, and revenge.
22. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Gail M. Presbey On a Mission to Morally Improve One’s Society: Odera Oruka’s African Sages and the Socratic Paradigm
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This paper explores Odera Oruka’s sage philosophy project, focusing on his insistence of the parallels between Socrates and the rural Kenyan sages whom he interviewed and who he considered to be orally philosophizing. Sages, he explained are those who possess wisdom, insight, ethical inspiration, and who use their talents for the benefit of the community. Key parallels between the sages and Socrates are: Socrates’ criticisms of conventional morality; his insistence on the moral virtues of practicing temperance; his emphasis on dialogue and his methods of guiding dialogue; and his guiding individuals as well as the community. Socrates says he is called by the god to challenge individual Athenians to become morally better; this descriptor, while fitting some contemporary academic philosophers, accurately reflects the convictions and actions of most African sages. Socrates often depicted his wisdom as listening to a “voice” within him that came beyond himself; similarly, Kenyan sages interviewed attributed their wisdom to God. But both Socrates and the Kenyan sages assess the truth of insights communicated spiritually, and are able to explain the ideas to others using reason.
23. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Thomas I. White Doing Business in Morally Troubled Waters: Dolphins, the Entertainment Industry, and the Ethics of Captivity
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This essay argues that humans have not fully understood the cognitive and affective capacities of dolphins, and that we have mistakenly defended as morally acceptable practices that actually harm dolphins. In particular, this essay argues that the current use of hundreds of captive dolphins by Sea World and similar facilities in the entertainment industry is ethically indefensible. Focusing primarily on critical differences between humans and dolphins, this essay argues that central concepts like “intelligence” and “language” (which have played a critical role in discussions about whether dolphins have moral standing) should be seen as species-specific, not universal notions. As a result, there are insufficient grounds to make the traditional claim that dolphins’ cognitive capacities place them on a significantly lower spot in the moral hierarchy than humans. This paper also claims that the full development of dolphin personalities may depend on the richness of social interaction that is common in the life of a dolphin in the wild. Consequently, dolphins can probably experience a greater degree of emotional pain or deprivation in captivity than has traditionally been thought.
24. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Robert P. Lawry Heavy Drinking on Campus: A Paradoxical Proposal
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The alarming rise in heavy drinking on college campuses has resulted in a new federal law allowing colleges to notify parents of infractions of alcohol related laws and policies. Before mandating such notifications a college should remember its “nurturing role” vis-a-vis students. Since no proffered reason is strong enough to justify mandatory notification, colleges should engage only in selective notification based on carefully established criteria. Finally, since “binge drinking” is the major new factor within the larger problem of heavy drinking, efforts should be made at the legislative level to lower the legal age to eighteen. This change will lead to more responsible drinking on the part of students.
25. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Jane Duran Rape as a Form of Torture
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Using material taken from contemporary feminist theory and also from work on human rights, it is argued that rape is a form of torture, and that it operates on powerful levels, both literally and metaphorically. Part of the argument is that rape has achieved the status it has as political force for exploitation because of strong beliefs about cultural reproduction and about the roles that women play in cultural reproduction.
26. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Stephen Kershnar Mercy, Retributivism, and Harsh Punishment
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In this article I argue that mercy does not prevent the imposition of harsh punishment from being morally permissible. This article has two parts. In the first part, I argue that mercy is an imperfect duty, because only such a duty-type explains the attributes that are commonly ascribed to mercy. In the second part, I argue that mercy does not present a sufficient moral reason against the regular imposition of harsh punishment because it neither undermines nor systematically overrides or weakens the retributive duties. This is in part because the imperfect duty to be merciful can be satisfied by actions taken in nonpunitive contexts alone. This is also in part because mercy is not particularly appropriate given the lack of positive desert of and good moral character in most of the culpable wrongdoers who deserve harsh punishment.
27. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Richard Nault Heavy Drinking on Campus: The University, Paternalism, and Civil Rights
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This article reviews the extent to which illegal and abusive alcohol consumption on college campuses negatively affects students and campus communities, outlines strategies for dealing with heavy student use of alcohol, reviews how federal law now permits colleges and universities to notify parents when students are found responsible for illegal alcohol use, and presents the arguments for and against parental notification.
28. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Rick Momeyer Heavy Drinking on Campus and University Paternalism
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Both for reasons of their own and because of congressionally mandated changes in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, many colleges and universities have changed the way they deal with alcohol abuse by their students. One of these changes has been to adopt a policy of “Parental Notification” according to which parents of an underaged student found guilty of consuming alcohol are notified after a first offense. I argue that this is a paternalistic policy in need of justification, and that justifying it is made the more difficult because of barriers to its being successfully pursued. Nonetheless, I suggest that such a policy, if a weak paternalistic one, can be morally justified.
29. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Gabriel Palmer-Fernández Innocence in War
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Just war morality draws an important distinction between soldiers and civilians. Unlike soldiers, civilians may never be intentionally killed because they are innocent. But the prohibition on intentionally killing civilians cannot be adequately explained by the wrongness of killing the innocent. This paper examines several views on the meaning of innocence in war, exposes difficulties with each that warrant their rejection, and proposes an alternative view on the wrongness of killing civilians that is independent of the wrongness of killing the innocent. It concludes by noting some concerns with the proposed alternative.
30. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Seumas Miller Collective Rights and Minority Rights
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The main purpose of this paper is to argue that there are no minority moral rights. Rights claimed to be minority moral rights, such as land rights and hunting rights of indigenous peoples, and the political and language rights of some minority cultures, turn out to be either collective moral rights which are not also minority moral rights, or else to be merely (possibly morally justified) legal minority rights which are not also minority moral rights.
31. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Elliot D. Cohen Orcid-ID Permitting Suicide of Competent Clients in Counseling Legal and Moral Considerations
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State statutes, case law, and professional codes of ethics in the mental health professions typically stress either a duty or the permissibility of disclosing confidential information in order to prevent clients from seriously harming themselves. These sources are intended to address cases where clients are deemed to be suffering from cognitive dysfunction for which paternalistic intervention, including involuntary hospitalization, is considered necessary to prevent self-destructive behavior.The counselor’s moral and legal responsibility is less apparent when mentally competent clients desire suicide as release from irremediable suffering due to severe physical illness, and this desire is defensible within these clients’ value systems. This paper will explore moral and legal dimensions of a counselor’s decision not to intervene in such cases. The concept of permitted suicide will be introduced and defined, and guidelines for its application developed.
32. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
R. J. Connelly Just-War Theory and the Role of the Police Sniper
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As critical incidents and terrorist threats are on the increase, the military/SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) aspects of U.S. civilian policing are being expanded. The person called upon as a last resort to kill the criminal agent has a unique position on the SWAT team. The police sniper is asked to kill with premeditation and usually not in a situation of self-defense. Very little appears in the ethics literature analyzing the morality of the sniper role. This paper will tentatively outline a process of analysis that draws upon the framework of principles associated with the just-war tradition. Elements examined are the ends of sniper killing, intention and motives, relevant emotions, and implementation means used. The conclusion is that a plausible case can be made for the moral justification of such killing as long as certain conditions or tests are met.
33. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
John Michael Atherton Ethics through Aikido: Practical Ethics Gets Physical
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A mugging can overwhelm our ability to apply moral principles. When words fail, we still need advice that allows us to remain moral in the face of an attack. Self-defense offers just such advice and can be supported by utilitarian, deontological, and virtue approaches to ethics. Self-defense increases safety and security that enhance our freedom and well-being, which, in turn, allow us to survive and flourish as moral agents. Self-defense must, however, itself be qualified because its violent treatment of muggers may produce human time bombs that reduce the safety and security of society.The martial art of Aikido trains our hand to act morally in the face of a physical attack when our mind is otherwise occupied. Aikido teaches self-defense, but it goes beyond self-centeredness to also protect the attacker. Such concern helps build community because it reduces vectors of resentment that spread when violence is perpetuated. The defense-only nature of Aikido teaches virtues in an embodied form on the mat. It offers philosophers an experiential and kinesthetic view of moral conduct that supplements and complements an exclusively intellectual approach. Moral philosophy cannot demand that we learn a martial art since it is only one of many possibilities to assist us in living a moral life; nevertheless, a reasonable attention to those conditions necessary for freedom and well-being entails an awareness of self-defense.
34. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Charles K. B. Barton Victim-Offender and Community Empowerment: A New Paradigm in Criminal Justice
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With the growing prominence of restorative justice interventions, criminal justice is being reconceptualized in terms of a new paradigm of justice. The central concept of this new paradigm is victim-offender empowerment. The paper articulates the meaning and application of this idea in restorative justice philosophy and practice.
35. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Paul M. Hughes Moral Atrocity and Political Reconciliation: A Preliminary Analysis
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Over the past decade or so political leaders around the world have begun to apologize for, and even seek reconciliation between perpetrators and victims of large-scale moral wrongs such as slavery, campaigns of ethnic cleansing, and official regimes of racial segregation. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is probably the most well-known example of such political efforts to effect what might be called moral healing within and between nations. In this essay, I canvass various senses of reconciliation, clarifying which are appropriate for understanding these recent political efforts to heal the wounds caused by state-sanctioned moral atrocities. I argue that interpersonal reconciliation is not likely to be a promising model for understanding political efforts to achieve moral closure for large-scale wrongs, and I close with some worries about the efficacy of state-sponsored attempts to reconcile victims to their wrongdoers.
36. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Lloyd Fields Coercion and Moral Blameworthiness
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Some interpretations of the term “coercion” entail that a person who is coerced is morally entitled to do what she does. But there is a vague spectrum of uses of this term, in which one use shades into another. “Coercion” can legitimately be interpreted in a way according to which it is possible for a person who is coerced not to be morally entitled to do what she does and indeed to be blameworthy for her action. In order to distinguish between cases in which a coercee is not blameworthy for compliance and those in which a coercee is blameworthy, an account of moral blameworthiness is presented. The account does not deal, however, with the question of when one harm or evil outweighs another. A person is morally blameworthy if and only if she performs an action which is, on balance, morally wrong, and for which she is morally responsible. Three different standards of moral responsibility are considered. The first two are found to be susceptible to counterexamples. The third, which is claimed to be adequate, is that a moral agent is responsible for a morally wrong action if and only if, first, either she has the psychological capacity to refrain from doing what she does, or, if she lacks this capacity, she nevertheless had a Isecond-order) psychological capacity to prevent the lack of capacity in question; and, second, the moral agent knows what she is doing, under the description of her action according to which it is a wrong action. Thus, where a moral agent is coerced into doing an immoral action, and lacked the psychological capacity to refrain from performing the action, this standard of responsibility enables us to decide whether or not she is blameworthy on the basis of whether the lack of the capacity was due to ordinary human weakness or to a fault of character.
37. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
M. Andrew Holowchak Excellence as Athletic Ideal: Autonomy, Morality, and Competitive Sport
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Liberalism is the view that humans are independent, autonomous, and self-sufficient and, thus, institutional policy is warranted only when it advances these values. As an important thread in moral thought today, liberalism defines a good life as the complete freedom of all people to pursue their own desires, provided that little or no harm is done to others along the way.Moral liberalism also pervades the literature in philosophy of sport today. In this paper, I argue that liberalism as moral policy in sport is wrong because liberalism as moral policy is wrong. Human autonomy implies social responsibility, which moral liberalism today disavows. At paper’s end, I sketch out a normative account of sport, aretism, that fleshes out the types of responsibilities that bind athletes to sport, properly construed as a social institution.
38. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
William Spees Ethical Responsibilities of Software Developers in Developing Simulations: The Robotic Pet
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Recent innovations in computer software development have produced a new breed of pet, AIBO 2, a robotic pet that simulates the behavior of real pets. This paper argues that software developers who create such simulations have ethical responsibilities to product users and to society. The paper concludes with some general ethical guidelines for software developers to follow when engaged in projects involving real-world simulations.
39. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Jason A. Beyer Is the Current Practice of Psychotherapy Morally Permissible?
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This essay aims to morally evaluate psychotherapy as it is currently practiced through the lens of sales/exchange ethics. The main focus of the essay is on psychotherapists’ claims to special expertise at diagnosing and treating mental illness. I review the research evidence relevant to these claims and conclude that these claims are not supported by the available evidence. Psychotherapists do not appear to be any better than actuarial tests at diagnosing mental illnesses, and meta-analyses of psychotherapy outcome studies casts serious doubt on the existence of treatment expertise. Given that the expertise that psychotherapists claim to have is lacking, those seeking psychotherapy are not adequately informed about the quality of the product that they are seeking. Using Holley’s principles of sales ethics as a springboard, I argue that this situation is morally unacceptable; thus the current practice of psychotherapy is morally impermissible. I provide and evaluate some suggestions for rectifying this problem. The most important of these is Dawes’s suggestion that psychotherapists be licensed according to their use of experimentally confirmed diagnostic and treatment methods.
40. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Kathinka Evers The Importance of Being a Self
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A traditional belief is that there is but one self to a body, and that each of us has a single biography and personality. Varieties of this monistic view have dominated most of mankind’s intellectual history in philosophy, science, religion, and psychology, as well as legal and social theory. It has been challenged by appeal to those people whom psychiatry labels “multiple,” or “dissociated” personalities who, some claim, are “multiple selves.” This may be adequate if the self is explained by reference to personality. But if the self is characterized in terms of self-awareness, its numerical identity will be independent of that of the individual’s personality. On this account, the self is a biological ability that forms the basis of subjective reality without determinately enumerating the subject living it. The concept “self” is ambiguous and contextually sensitive; its meaning can vary with circumstances. On conceptual, ethical and existential grounds, a minimal conception of the self should be adopted without thereby excluding complementary stronger notions of the self. In principle, one organism could thus simultaneously be one and many selves in different meanings of that term. In human societies, the importance of being a self can hardly be overestimated, and any denial of this status must therefore carefully be considered.