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symposium on liberalism
1. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Thomas May Bioethics in a Liberal Society: Political, Not Moral
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This paper argues for the importance of the political context of a society for bioethics. In particular, I argue that in a liberal constitutional society, such as the one we find ourselves in, no particular moral perspective is granted a privileged position. Rather, individuals are allowed to live their lives according to values they adopt for themselves, and the rights granted to protect this ability “trump” social consensus, and place boundaries on the social application of personal moral beliefs and values.
2. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Lisa Hill Homo Economicus, ‘Different Voices,’ and the Liberal Psyche
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This paper extends the sensibilities of the Gilligan-Kohlberg debate into classical political economy and makes links with modern psychotherapeutics and the psychological development of individuals. The model of moral maturity represented in contemporary psychological theories is posited as the direct descendant, not only of Immanuel Kant, as is generally argued, but also of the universal, homogenous agent of classical economics; the ‘rational economic man’ representedin the writings of Adam Smith and J. S. Mill. Both thinkers lent their support to the creation of an order which produces (masculine) actors who are ’rational’ self-governing, separative, competitive, self-asserting, self-interested, acquisitive, pecuniary and driven to success by a desire for the social recognition afforded by consumerism; the same order which typically designates women moral failures and which renders them largely invisible. Liberalism generates conditions which enable it to sustain and reproduce itself at the psychic level. The assumption of the market as the paradigmatic social interaction and its status as the analytical and moral starting point in liberal capitalism infects the putatively private domain of ‘self-governance’ and contemporary psychotherapeutics; the development and management of the self in contemporary culture is a direct reflection of the imperatives and assumptions of market society. The separative self is the ‘healthy’ self, hence the parallel emphasis in modern therapy on ‘individuation’ as the highest level of psychological evolvement. Gilligan’s ‘care ethic’ is approached with some scepticism, nevertheless, her critique of Kohlberg guides us towards a more comprehensive critique of the ‘pneumatic’ and political assumptions of liberalism.
symposium on retribution, torture, and the death penalty
3. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Stephen Kershnar Objections to the Systematic Imposition of Punitive Torture
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A particular amount of punishment is justified if and only if that amount of punishment is deserved and the desert claim is not overridden. In the case of some multiple murderers or people who perform serious violent acts in addition to murder, the deserved punishment must involve torture. I argue that this legitimate desert claim is not overridden by objections based on notions of brutality and inhumanity, the Kantian concern that persons be treated as ends, the intuitive distaste that many persons have for torture, the negative consequences of institutionalized torture, the concern for bias in the imposition of punishment, and the need for accuracy in measuring harms.
4. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Anthony P. Roark Retribution, the Death Penalty, and the Limits of Human Judgment
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So serious a matter is capital punishment that we must consider very carefully any claim regarding its justification. Brian Calvert has offered a new version of the “argument from arbitrariness,” according to which a retributivist cannot consistently hold that some, but not all, first-degree murderers may justifiably receive the death penalty, when it is conceived to be a unique form of punishment. At the heart of this argument is the line-drawing problem, and I am inclined to think that it is a genuine challenge for the retributivist. I respond on behalf of the retributivist by formulating a line-drawing method that relies on the distinction between clearly deserving and not clearly deserving and is justified by a version of the lex talionis modified with an epistemic constraint.
5. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
A. T. Nuyen Lying and Deceiving Moral Choice in Public and Private Life
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Suppose that there are good or morally defensible reasons for not responding truthfully to a question or request for information. Is a lie or a deception better as a means to avoid telling the truth? There are many situations in public and private life in which the answer to this question would serve as a useful moral guide, for instance, clinical situations involving dying patients, educational situations involving young children and personal situations involving close friends. Intuitively, we feel that there is a moral asymmetry in favor of deceiving over lying. However, doubts have been cast on such intuition. The aim of this paper is to bolster this intuition. It will be argued that the claim of moral asymmetry in favor of deception can be supported on a consideration of the different degrees of expectation involved in communicative ethics. Two other objections to the claim of asymmetry will also be considered.
6. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Camillo C. Bica A Therapeutic Application of Philosophy: The Moral Casualties of War: Understanding the Experience
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In this essay I will discuss the therapeutic application of philosophy in treating what I term “the moral casualties of war.” In doing so, I will develop an etiology of moral injury and focus upon the philosophical reasoning and insights that may be applied in an individual or group setting to foster an understanding of the warexperience as the first treatment step in a long and complex journey to healing.
7. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Sandra L. Borden Character as a Safeguard for Journalists Using Case-Based Ethical Reasoning
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As suggested by David E. Boeyink, casuistry is a promising method for making ethical decisions in journalism because its “case-oriented strategy fits [the] general approach” of many journalists while its stress on consistency guards against arbitrariness. Despite its emphasis on consistency, however, casuistry gives self-interested decision makers enough wiggle room to rationalize whatever is expedient. For this reason, casuistry relies also on character. Yet writers who have studied casuistry have said relatively little about the link between character and casuistry and, when they have, they have focused on the intellectual virtue of phronesis. This article articulates the essential moral virtues necessary to prevent arbitrariness in casuistry when practiced by journalists and demonstrates their relevance in relation to a recent case in which the journalist’s character was a key factor. The article concludes with several strategies for nurturing good character among journalists.
8. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Malcolm Murray Homosexuals and the Adoption Question
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In this paper, I claim there is nothing morally wrong with homosexuals adopting children. It is often argued that even if we ought to tolerate homosexuals in society, we must nevertheless forbid them from raising children. This is simply preposterous. There is no good argument for maintaining it, as I hope to demonstrate here.
9. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Jane Duran The Moral Status of the Joshua Tree
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The notion that plants, as well as animals, have a moral status is examined both in general, and with respect to the status of particularly rare plants that may be deemed to be lacking in general instrumentality, such as the Joshua tree. The work of Passmore, Singer and Santos is adduced, and several lines of argument revolving around preservation, sentiency and attractiveness to humans are constructed.
10. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Sami Pihlström Applied Philosophy: Problems and Applications
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This paper provides a critical discussion of the concept of applied philosophy. Writers specializing in applied philosophy (e.g., in the various fields of applied ethics) often assume what is here called the traditional concept of applied philosophy, i.e., they think of themselves as applying a “pure” (in itself nonapplied) philosophical theory to some humanly important practical problem area. If understood along these lines, applied philosophy can be taken to be analogous toapplied science. However, this analogy collapses as soon as we realize that the “results” of applied philosophy cannot usually be regarded as instantiations of the von Wrightian technical norm, which can be considered the basic form of the results of applied scientific research. On the other hand, the postmodernist, antiscientific rival of traditional applied philosophy, viz., “media philosophy,” is argued to be little more than a relativist, degraded version of the traditional conception. Finally, it is suggested that the dichotomy between pure and applied philosophy should be abandoned in favor of a pragmatist view, which urges that all significant philosophical problems are always already embedded in human practice.