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301. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
About the Contributors
302. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Joseph Spino Defusing Dangers of Imaginary Cases
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Some imaginary cases lead us to surprising conclusions. Unfortunately, there exists the danger of being so distracted by these conclusions that the imaginary cases themselves escape critical examination. Using the now famous ticking time-bomb scenario as an example, I propose a simple methodology to help us better understand what role a given imaginary case should be playing in ethical discourse. In particular, I hope to show why the ticking time bomb scenario fails to have any probative value as a counter-example to anti-torture policies. Despite this, I argue that there is still an important role for cases like the ticking time-bomb scenario, as they can motivate study about some of our intuitive moral commitments. This in turn may lead us to a better understanding of what moves us to surprising ethical evaluations in the first place.
303. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Stephen Kershnar The Morality of Faking Orgasms: Deception in a Dishonest World
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In this essay, I argue that orgasm-faking is permissible. My essay consists of three parts. First, I provide a background sketch of the psychology of orgasm-faking. Second, I argue that it is permissible. Third, I consider other arguments that might be made for the permissibility of faking it.
304. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Makoto Suzuki Comments on Michael Davis’s “Imaginary Cases in Ethics: A Critique”
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This paper concerns Davis’s objections against the probative uses of imaginary cases. His policy of getting more cautious in their uses is commendable. However, Davis’s arguments and proposals for limiting their uses might be based on controversial assumptions, go too far, and undervalue the reasons why thought experiments in ethics are constructed as they are. Even merely metaphysically possible cases can be test cases for or against ethical principles. Our ethical judgments about unrealistic cases can be credible, because, depending on the cases, we can know what would happen even under unrealistic assumptions. And non-actual and imagined cases are often indispensable for several purposes: examining the ethical relevance of natural properties, testing ethical principles, choosing between rival theories, and inductive uses (including generalization from a merely possible case to an actual problem at hand). It is hard to do away with the cases that are physically, biologically, and/or historically unrealistic.
305. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Lisa Campo-Engelstein Competing Social Norms: Why Women Are Responsible For, But Not Trusted with, Contraception
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A necessary component to reproductive autonomy is being trusted to make reproductive decisions. In the case of contraception, however, women are considered both trustworthy and untrustworthy. Women are held responsible for contraception and because responsibility usually stems from trust, it appears that women are trusted with contraception. Yet myriad laws and forms of surveillance and normalization surrounding contraception make women seem untrustworthy. Relying on Amy Mullin’s conception of trust that we trust those who we assume believe in the same social norms we do, I argue that this tension results from two competing social norms. One norm governing contraception is that people should be self-sacrificing, a norm with which most women align due to traditional gender roles. However, there is a norm that women are irrational in general as well as in contraceptive matters and consequently should not be trusted to use contraception. In order to combat both these norms, I make concrete recommendations for increasing knowledge of contraception, normalizing its use, and trusting both women and men with it.
306. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1
Michael Davis Imaginary Cases in Ethics: A Critique
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By “case,” I mean a proxy for some state of affairs, event, sequence of events, or other fact. A case may be as short as a phrase (“a promise to your dying grandfather”) or (in principle, at least) longer than War and Peace. A case may consist of words (as in the typical philosophical example) or have a more dramatic form, such as a movie, stage performance, or computer simulation. Imaginary cases plainly have an important role in contemporary ethics, especially in applied or practical ethics. This paper is a systematic critique of imaginary cases in ethics (what Kant would have called a “prolegomenon” to their use). There are two main parts. The first explains what it is to imagine a case and what limits there are to what can be imagined. The limits of imagination are, in general, determined by the purpose to which the case is to be put. The second part distinguishes nine uses of imaginary cases: rhetorical; probative (subdivided into counterexample, proof of possibility, and pattern-proving); and heuristic (subdivided into illustrative, experiment in theory, insight-sharpening, commitment-mapping, and exploring reasoning process). Some of these uses are (more or less) unobjectionable (whether the particular case succeeds or fails in its objective) but some require special care or outright avoidance. I give examples of how philosophers and other ethicists would be better off if they were more cautious in their use of imaginary cases (including some classic examples, such as Nozick’s book thruster and Thompson’s famous violinist). This paper is especially concerned with the use of imaginary cases in contemporary defenses of torture.
307. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
James McBain Reproductive Reasons and Procreative Duty
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Debates on procreative liberty usually surround the issue of whether it is permissible to not bring a child into existence. However, some argue that, under certain conditions, there is an obligation to bring a child (or even as many children as possible) into existence. This position, I will call the procreative duty stance, is argued for in two general ways—obligations arising from the extinction of the human species and obligations arising from personal reasons which override the reluctance of a potential parent. It is argued that no version of either of these arguments works to establish a duty to procreate. So, the procreative duty stance is mistaken.
308. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
V. P. J. Arponen The Human Collective Causing of Environmental Problems and Theory of Collective Action: A Critique of Cognitivism
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A range of multidisciplinarily arguments and observations can and have been employed to challenge the view that the human relationship to nature is fundamentally a cognitive matter of collectively held cultural ideas and values about nature. At the same time, the very similar cognitivist idea of collective sharing of conceptual schemes, normative orientations, and the like as the engine of collective action remains the chief analytic tool offered by many influential philosophical and sociological theories of collective action and human sociality generally. Critically discussing in empirical as well as theoretical contexts the prospects of cognitivism to account for the human collective causing of environmental problems, the paper illustrates the deficiencies of cognitivism about collective action and discusses the challenges facing a different way forward.
309. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Jane Duran NGOs and Growth: A New Approach to Feminist Epistemology
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Feminist standpoint theory, as a tool for examining women’s lives in less developed nations, is scrutinized from the vantage of NGO-driven work and its changes in women’s routines. Work from Bangladesh and Mexico is cited, and commentary from workers in UN agencies and other non-governmental organizations is used.
310. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Deni Elliott, Pamela S. Hogle Access Rights and Access Wrongs: Ethical Issues and Ethical Solutions for Service Dog Use
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Individuals with a variety of disabilities benefit greatly from the ADA provision of easy public access with their service dogs. However, the growing problem of non-disabled individuals passing off their pets as service dogs both threatens public safety and can result in denial of access for legitimate service dog teams. We argue that requiring certification of service dog teams and furnishing qualified teams with state-issued ID tags, following a process similar to that for obtaining accessible-parking placards, is the least intrusive way to protect access for legitimate teams and protect public safety. While some consider a certification requirement for service dog teams to be burdensome, balanced against the harms posed by easy public access for untrained or inappropriate dogs, the mild burden is justified.
311. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Julie Kirsch Is Abortion a Question of Personal Morality?
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Is abortion a question of personal morality? Liberals and feminists often embrace this idea, but so also do those who are personally opposed to abortion. Someone may claim to believe personally that abortion is wrong without holding the corresponding public belief. I am interested in what exactly one means when one says that abortion is a question of personal morality. In Sec. II, I consider three influential interpretations of the claim that abortion is a question of personal morality. After showing that each of these interpretations is inadequate, I develop a fourth that avoids some of the problems with the first three (in Sec. III). But even on this interpretation, the claim that abortion is a question of personal morality is difficult to defend. This is because we cannot show that abortion is a question of personal morality without first knowing something about the moral status of the fetus. I conclude the paper with some pessimistic remarks concerning our ability to arrive at a compromise position on abortion.
312. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Michael Davis A Present Like Ours: A Refutation of Marquis’s Argument against Abortion and a Sketch of a General Theory of Personhood
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This paper seeks to refute Don Marquis’s well-known “future like ours” argument against abortion (1989) by offering an alternative explanation for why killing people is prima facie morally wrong, one which overall is at least as good as Marquis’s. That alternative is in part that what makes killing “us” wrong is not primarily that it denies us a future (as Marquis would have it) but that it ends our present. Of course, Marquis has dismissed other present-state explanations for what may seem good reasons. To avoid a similar dismissal, I fit my explanation into a larger theory, one I believe plausibly explains the moral status of a wide range of beings, both human and non-human, better than Marquis’s. Ironically, that larger theory recognizes Marquis’s “future like ours” as a relevant consideration for protecting the (normal) fetus against killing but not as the decisive consideration that Marquis claims it to be. Marquis’s ultimate mistake is treating a relevant consideration as the sole consideration.
313. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Shlomit C. Schuster A Philosophical Analysis and Critique of Dr. Irvin Yalom’s Writings Concerning Philosophical Counseling
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In this analysis of Yalom’s account of philosophical counseling I show that his perception of it is largely informed by his own ideas about existential psychotherapy and group therapy. Additionally I find that When Nietzsche Wept, and The Schopenhauer Cure comply with Yalom’s personal development and struggles in psychotherapy with philosophy, religion, and boundary violations. Conflicting ideas and attitudes concerning the formerly mentioned are traced also in other works by Yalom.
314. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Andrew Oberg The Occupied Toolbox: Revisiting the Question of Violence as an Instrument of Protest
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In the present paper the issue of using violence in protests to garner political gain is considered against the background of the Occupy movement and the varied responses to it. Although some may now feel, and certainly many did while the movement was at its peak, that the Occupy protestors should alter their tactics and embrace violence as an efficacious means to sought ends, it is argued here that such a move would be counterproductive and delegitimizing. Moral and psychological impacts on the non-demonstrating public that protestors’ tactics can have are weighed against traditional arguments in favor of using violence. Sources of political legitimacy are also examined, and it is put forward that changes achieved by nonviolence are more likely to be accepted by society at large. Finally, contemporary thinkers and scholars of the left are encouraged to fill the roles open to them that have emerged with Occupy and related movements.
315. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Allison B. Wolf Metaphysical Violence and Medicalized Childbirth
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Feminists have highlighted various ways in which medicalized childbirth is connected to violence. For example, the literature is replete with examples of court-ordered Cesarean sections, intimidation in the delivery room, women diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their childbirth experiences. The most common approach to the accusations about the connections between medicalized childbirth and violence has been to investigate the degree to which the evidence bears out their accuracy. In this essay, the author takes a different course; instead of trying to confirm or refute reports of violence in childbirth, she posits that understanding the ways in which violence is connected to medicalized childbirth requires us to note the existence of another form of violence that has not been recognized or discussed up to this point – metaphysical violence. The primary focus of this essay is to define that other form of violence as well as to suggest places where the routine practices of medicalized childbirth perpetuate it and possible ways to resist it.
316. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Alberto Giubilini Euthanasia: What Is the Genuine Problem?
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The current impasse in the old debate about the morality of euthanasia is mainly due to the fact that the actual source of conflict has not been properly identified—or so I shall argue. I will first analyse the two different issues involved in the debate, which are sometimes confusingly mixed up, namely: (a) what is euthanasia?, and (b) why is euthanasia morally problematic? Considering documents by physicians, philosophers and the Roman Catholic Church, I will show that (a) ‘euthanasia’ is defined by the intention to bring about a patient’s death, and (b) the distinction between what is intentional and what is not does not represent the morally problematic reason against euthanasia. Therefore, although the debate on euthanasia so far has mainly focussed on the distinctions ‘active /passive’ and ‘intentional /unintentional,’ I argue that neither constitutes the genuine source of the controversies. I will clarify what the source of controversies is, and outline the minimal requirement for an argument against euthanasia.
317. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Matthew Gildersleeve Trading Accuracy or Affiliation for Bad Faith in Social Influence Experimental Psychology
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Currently there is an unattached link between the study of social influence in experimental psychology and bad faith in the existential philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre. The methods of psychology and philosophy differ significantly and can be integrated into a unified whole to provide enhanced insight into a topic of investigation compared to what can be achieved separately in each of these disciplines. The goal of this paper is to review the social influence literature with the aim of expositing, integrating and synthesising the findings with Sartre’s analysis of bad faith and authenticity. As a result, this paper aims to uncover the scientific findings that provide clarification to the findings of bad faith in Sartre’s existential philosophy. Precisely, this paper will provide concrete and descriptive empirical examples of the experimental causes and conditions that appear to be identified by participants as a reason to act in bad faith. Specifically, this paper provides evidence that bad faith appears to arise when an individual believes she should be accurate or affiliated with the group. An analysis of the concepts that are necessary to understand bad faith will also be reviewed to uncover the arguments that provide clarification to understanding conformity found in the social influence literature. This paper will benefit both psychologists and philosophers by bridging these two fields of investigation. Further work with the integration of these findings into existential psychotherapy is encouraged and described throughout.
318. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
About the Contributors
319. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Elaine E. Englehardt, Michael S. Pritchard Teaching Practical Ethics
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A common view is that, whether taught in philosophy departments or elsewhere, practical ethics should include some introduction to philosophical ethics. But even an entire course cannot afford much time for this and expect to do justice to ethical concerns in the practical area (for example, business, engineering, or medicine). The concern is that ethical theories would need to be “watered down,” or over-simplified. So, we should not expect that this will be in good keeping with either the theories or the practical concerns.In addressing this problem, we turn to philosopher Thomas Reid (1710–1796). He insisted that, because morality is for everyone, one needn’t be a philosopher to understand its requirements. Although it can be useful to organize our moral thinking around a few basic principles, a system of morality is more like a system of botany or mineralogy than geometry. Noting this can guide us in constructing effective courses in practical ethics.
320. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Luigi Saccà A Biophilosophical Model of Human Dignity: The Argument from Development in a Four-Dimensionalist Perspective
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The notion of dignity is central in most international documents concerning bioethics and biolaw, but its significance and its philosophical foundation are a matter of incessant debate. I propose to define dignity as a unique property of human beings stemming from the developmental process of rationality and self-consciousness (R&SC) and conferring on them equal moral rights. A central claim of this essay is that dignity is not an ontological property but has a time-space dimension. It comes to be in the individuated embryo coincident with the beginning of an individuated development of R&SC and ends with irreversible damage of the brain support for R&SC. The philosophical foundation of the model is the argument from development (AFD). Development is the traceable and measurable biological process that assures continuity from the individuated embryo to adulthood. The metaphysical ground of development is also discussed within a four-dimensionalist framework.