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81. 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.
82. 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.
83. 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.
84. 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.
85. 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.
86. 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.
87. 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.
88. 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.
89. 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.
90. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Elliot D. Cohen Orcid-ID 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.
91. 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.
92. 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.
93. 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.
94. 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.
95. 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.
96. 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.
97. 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.
98. 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.
99. 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.
100. 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.