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1. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Phil Cox Codes of Medical Ethics and the Exportation of Less-Than-Standard Care
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Recently a number of AIDS/AZT research studies, carried out by U.S. universities, have come under intense ethical scrutiny. In these studies, control groups of HIV-positive pregnant women were being given a placebo rather than AZT. Such research protocols would be illegal if practiced in the U.S. I examine a number of lamentable ethical lapses in the studies, and conclude that at least some of these ethical problems are traceable to a troubling contradiction between differing international codes of ethics. In a word, some international codes mandate that all research subjects (including control groups) receive the best standard of care available in the country sponsoring the research, while others suggest that providing only a “Iocal” standard of care is ethically appropriate. I argue that these two ethical mandates cannot both be satisfied, and that host country populations will remain subject to exploitation unless this contradiction is resolved.
2. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Jon Mills Ethical Considerations and Training Recommendations for Philosophical Counseling
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Philosophical counseling is a diverse and burgeoning type of mental health service delivery. Despite competing approaches to theory and practice, the field has largely strayed from an ethical critique of its methodology and counselor training requirements. This article outlines several ethical considerations and training recommendations that are proposed to bolster the quality and effectiveness of philosophical practice. As philosophical counseling gains increasing recognition in North America, recently established national organizations in philosophical practice may profit from revisiting their interim codes for professional conduct Proposed training suggestions for counselor preparation may further assist institutions and board-regulated agencies in establishing competent and acceptable standards of client care.
3. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Verna V. Gehring The American State Lottery: Sale or Swindle?
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Despite worries about the fairness of lotteries or the sources of the human psyche’s strong attraction to them, Americans have made lotteries a part of their civic lives. The popularity of gaming does not, however, gainsay the unease many Americans feel about state sponsorship of lotteries. The debates that surrounded the introduction of lotteries remain to this day, but the arguments are tired and the camps deadlocked. One camp argues that a lottery is simply a properly randomized drawing that determines who among a freely chosen group of participants shall be awarded all or some of the monetary contributions of the group. These proponents suggest that the randomness of the drawing and the autonomy of the participants render the lottery fair and sponsorship by the state unobjectionable. Opponents of state-supported gambling argue, by contrast, that states market lotteries by making inappropriate emotional appeals and by supplying information of dubious veracity. Consequently, so this group argues, lotteries must be judged as unfair gaming devices and state support viewed as improper. I shall show that both camps have fundamentally misunderstood the problem. Evaluating whether state lotteries are sales or swindles relies neither on an analysis of subjective attitudes nor on an examination of purely procedural aspects of play. Correct analysis depends on a determination of what lotteries are. That is, there is a difference between claiming what a lottery does and what it claims to be, between how it works and what it is. If a lottery is claimed to be something that it is not, then regardless of what one gets for one’s money, one has been swindled. I will show that performing an ontological examination of the state-supported lottery reveals it to be a swindle. I conclude by suggesting that some of the confusion regarding the legitimacy of the state-sponsored lottery stems from misunderstandings of several tenets of liberalism. It is these misunderstandings that at times are employed to justify lotteries.
4. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Kathinka Evers Korsakoff Syndrome: The Amnesic Self
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The belief that memory is essential to the self is common. Extreme amnesia, e.g., Korsakoff Syndrome, is held to dissolve the afflicted person’s self. This belief is a misconception that rests on a confusion of epistemic with ontological relevance. Epistemically, memory is relevant to the self: a subject’s self-knowledge partly depends on memories of past experiences. However, it is not by virtue of these memories that the subject is a self: ontologically, memory is irrelevant to that status. The fact that an individuals conception of herself as existing through time is wanting does not prevent that individual from being a self at a given point in time. As the past is there whether or not it is remembered, so the self is there whether or not it remembers. If instead we define the self as awareness of being a subject of experience, the self may survive even the most extreme forms of amnesia. Being a self is an important social value, a prerequisite of numerous legal or moral rights. This in itself is questionable, like the social exclusion it may entail. Denying an amnesic person a self is therefore more than a logical mistake: it is a social exclusion that can also be questioned on ethical grounds.
5. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Nicholas Dixon Handguns, Violent Crime, and Self-Defense
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By far the most plausible explanation of data on violent crime in the United States is that its high handgun ownership rate is a major causal factor. The only realistic way to significantly reduce violent crime in this country is an outright ban on private ownership of handguns. While such a ban would undeniably restrict one particular freedom, it would violate no rights. In particular, the unquestioned right to self-defense does not entail a right to own handguns, because the evidence indicates that the widespread belief in handguns’ defensive efficacy is mistaken, especially when we confine our attention to defensive handgun use that is actually morally permissible. A handgun ban will never eradicate the weapons from this country, but it can substantially reduce the ownership rate and, as a result, substantially reduce violent crime. Although political realities may make a handgun ban unattainable in the United States at present, the very act of advancing cogent arguments for the most defensible position will make the goal of handgun prohibition more and more achievable.
6. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Asher Seidel On Human Improvement
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The claim that human cognitive abilities can be markedly improved by near-future biophysical means is examined as to its clarity, desirability, and feasibility. Generally, this is a study of the “space of reasons” of such a claim. Comparison is offered to claims of the feasibility of significant moral improvement of individuals. While this study is more exploratory than conclusive, the result is drawn that the possibility of such improvement merits serious consideration, given such improvement’s far-reaching implications.
7. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Michael Davis Is Higher Education a Prerequisite of Profession?
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The paper presents a definition of profession that I have developed over two decades: A profession is a number of individuals in the same occupation voluntarily organized to earn a living by openly serving a certain moral ideal in a morally permissible way beyond what law, market, and morality would otherwise require. The paper then briefly explains how this definition improves on more conventional ones, especially on those developed using the method of sociology or conceptual analysis. Finally, the paper defends the definition against one important objection, an objection many professionals, even upon reflection, seem inclined to make. The objection is that higher education, though omitted from my definition, is necessary for an occupation to be a profession. The paper argues that, on the contrary, carpenters or plumbers, porters or common laborers, could form a profession lin the full sensei without much change in the preparation of would-be members of their respective occupations.
8. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Jennifer A. Parks Ethical Androcentrism and Maternal Substance Addiction: Concerns of a Feminist Ethicist
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In this paper, I argue that bioethics suffers from a masculinist approach-what I call “ethical androcentrism.” Despite the genesis of other legitimate approaches to ethics (such as feminist, narrative, and communicative ethics), this masculinist tradition persists. The first part of my paper concerns the problem of ethical androcentrism, and how it is manifest in our typical ways of “doing” bioethics (as teachers, ethicists, policymakers, and medical practitioners). After arguing that bioethics suffers from a masculinist ethic, I consider the case of maternal substance addiction to show how this ethic negatively affects the treatment of pregnant addicts. I argue that by treating maternal substance addiction from an androcentric approach, we fail to serve both pregnant addicts and their fetuses; furthermore, we misrepresent the intentional state of pregnant substance addicts and label them “prenatal abusers.” If maternal substance addiction is to be ethically addressed -- and if pregnant substance addicts are to be effectively treated -- we cannot tacitly accept an androcentric ethic.
9. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
James Scott Johnston, Carol Johnston Nietzsche and the Dilemma of Suffering
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In this paper. we attempt to view a long-held assumption in nursing as mistaken. That is, that patient suffering is something to be overcome. Utilizing Nietzsche’s statements on Amor Fati, we carefully examine the cultural assumptions behind our denigration of suffering, look at specific nursing examples of this situation, and attempt the beginnings of a discourse on what it would take for nurses to overcome their own predetermined views of suffering in order to better help their patients “own” their own suffering.
10. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Michael S. Pritchard Moral Philosophy for Children and Character Education
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This paper discusses the growing prominence of character education and the role moral philosophy can play here. It examines the place of inquiry in character education, and the ways in which moral philosophy can help young people to develop the virtue of reasonableness. Reasonableness, as herein described, takes into account the views and feelings of others, the willingness to allow one’s views to be scrutinized by others, and the acceptance of some degree of uncertainty about whether one’s views are necessarily right. The paper illustrates ways in which philosophical exploration about morality can help children to cultivate reasonableness.
11. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Emrys Westacott The Ethics of Gossiping
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When is gossiping morally acceptable? In order to explore and develop a principled answer to this question, I pose the problem in a simplified, abstract form: What considerations govern what it is permissible for A to say to B about C? My approach involves first constructing a decision tree out of questions that apply general moral principles to any particular case. These principles filter out talk which, under normal circumstances, would be widely regarded as impermissible, such as breaches of confidence, deliberate falsehoods, or talk likely to produce more future harm than good. They also declare talk which is not contrary to C’s wishes, or which is likely to bring about some tangible further good, to be morally acceptable.The most interesting and controversial type of case is the kind that is not resolved by any of these considerations. People who view gossip in general with suspicion would presumably hold all such talk to be objectionable. I consider and reject several arguments in support of this view. I then look at reasons, mainly utilitarian, for declaring all such talk to be morally acceptable. I argue that these are not sufficient, either individually or collectively, to establish this universal conclusion; there are too many additional variables rendering our moral deliberations irreducibly complex. But they do bring out the many positive aspects of gossip that are often overlooked.
12. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
S. K. Wertz Revel’s Conception of Cuisine: Platonic or Hegelian
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Jean-François Revel is the first philosopher to take food seriously and to offer a topology for food practices. He draws a distinction between different kinds of cuisine -- popular (regional) cuisine and erudite (professional) cuisine. With this distinction, he traces the evolution of food practices from the ancient Greeks and Romans, down through the Middle Ages, and into the Renaissance and the Modern Period. His contribution has been acknowledged by Deane Curtin who offers an interpretation of Revel’s conceptual scheme along Platonic lines. In this essay the author reviews Curtin’s interpretation, finds it wanting in certain respects, and develops an alternative reading of Revel along Hegelian lines. This interpretation, the author believes, does greater justice to Revel’s topology for food practices.
13. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Peter B. Raabe How Philosophy Can Help You Feel Better: Philosophical Counseling and the Emotions
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The theoretical nature of academic philosophy has led to the assumption that a philosophical inquiry is not an appropriate means by which to explore the emotional issues encountered in everyday life. But a closer examination of various conceptions of the emotions leads to the conclusion that a person’s unwelcome emotions don’t simply erupt unexpectedly out of the unconscious and for no reason, but rather that they are generated in large part by a person’s unexamined assumptions and beliefs about himself and the world in which he lives. Therefore philosophical inquiry into these unexamined assumptions and beliefs, as it is conducted in philosophical counseling, has the potential to alleviate the pain and suffering of undesired emotions.
14. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Jana Mohr Lone Introduction to the Symposium on Moral Philosophy with Children
15. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Michael Davis Revenge, Victim’s Rights, and Criminal Justice
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Barton’s view in Getting Even: Revenge as a Form of Justice (Open Court Chicago, 19991 is that revenge -- in the form of victim participation in trial. sentencing, and punishment -- should have a large place in criminal justice. I argue that what he suggests in the way of reform has no essential relation with criminal justice.
16. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Stephen Kershnar A Defense of Retributivism
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The moral theory justifying punishment will shape the debate over numerous controversial issues such as the moral permissibility of the death penalty, probation, parole, and plea bargaining, as well as issues about conditions in prison and access to educational opportunities in prison. In this essay I argue that the primary goal of the criminal justice system is to inflict suffering on, and only on, those who deserve it. If I am correct, the answer to issues involving the criminal justice system should be answered in large part by considering whether the practice in question furthers the infliction of suffering on, and only on, those who deserve it.
17. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Kristján Kristjánsson Utilitarian Naturalism and the Moral Justification of Emotions
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The virtue ethicist Rosalind Hursthouse has recently admitted that the commonly supposed link between a belief in the moral significance of human emotions and an adherence to virtue ethics may rest on a “historical accident,” and that utilitarians could, for instance, be equally concerned with emotions. The present essay takes up Hursthouse’s challenge and explores both what utilitarians have said and what they should say about the moral justification of emotions. Mill’s classical utilitarianism is rehearsed and applied to the emotions, some relevant objections to utilitarianism are rebutted, and a link is suggested to Aristotle’s conception of happiness. Finally, the essay discusses the scope of utilitarianism as a naturalistic strategy, and explains how naturalistic moral reasoning on the emotions must, in practice, be answerable to empirical research and, hence, interdisciplinary.
18. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
David A. Shapiro Action Learning and Moral Philosophy with Children
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This paper suggests that young people can explore moral philosophy in ways that will help them both think and act in ways that are consistent with good moral reasoning. It describes several games and exercises that allow children to explore various moral principles in their behavior toward others. Participating in activities that give children practice in making moral decisions helps them to appreciate the role of principles in moral reasoning. The author contends that it is important for young people to examine ethical dilemmas from the “inside out”; that is, not by listening to the wisdom of philosophers telling them how to approach these issues, but by facing them head on themselves.
19. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Baird Saenger Exploring Ethics through Children’s Literature
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In this paper, the author describes some of her experiences over the past almost twenty years discussing ethics with children. She gives many examples of children’s literature as sources for inspiring moral reflection and imaginative thinking on the part of children. She notes that stories allow children to take risks in thinking about ethical decisions. They provide young people with ways to empathize with others who are living very different lives from the ones they live.
20. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Gareth B. Matthews The Ring of Gyges: Plato in Grade School
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This paper illustrates some of the exciting and interesting philosophical discussions we can have with children when we let them develop the thread of the conversation in their own ways. The author discusses the virtue of patience when doing philosophy with children, and the importance of letting the rhythms of the discussion unfold without undue adult interference. Adults (and especially teachers) often attempt to control the ways in which children discuss issues with one another. The author reminds us of how powerful it can be for a philosophical conversation among children to develop organically. and of how allowing silences to occur can inspire further philosophical explorations among the children.