•  177
    How to argue against active euthanasia
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2). 2000.
  •  166
    How to solve the non-identity problem
    Public Affairs Quarterly 22 (2): 129-159. 2008.
  •  141
    Better to Be
    South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1): 10-25. 2012.
    Suppose a couple knows that if they conceive a child, the child’s life on the whole will contain a million units of pleasure and a hundred units of pain. Call this the Lucky Couple. If the Lucky Couple decides to conceive, will their act of conceiving harm the resulting child? Most people would say no. To harm a person is to make things worse for that person than they would otherwise be. If the Lucky Couple conceives a child, the child will experience a great balance of pleasure over pain. If th…Read more
  •  104
    In this book, philosopher David Boonin attempts to answer the moral questions raised by five important and widely contested racial practices: slave reparations, affirmative action, hate speech restrictions, hate crime laws and racial profiling. Arguing from premises that virtually everyone on both sides of the debates over these issues already accepts, Boonin arrives at an unusual and unorthodox set of conclusions, one that is neither liberal nor conservative, color conscious nor color blind. De…Read more
  •  82
    Rights, Duties and the Body: Law and Ethics of the Maternal-Fetal Conflict
    Philosophical Review 113 (4): 582-584. 2004.
    Suppose a woman chooses to carry a pregnancy to term. What duties should she be understood to have with respect to the fetus? If she is informed that a vaginal delivery will pose significant risks to its life or health, for example, is she obligated to submit to a caesarean section procedure on its behalf?
  •  75
    The Vegetarian Savage: Rousseau’s Critique of Meat Eating
    Environmental Ethics 15 (1): 75-84. 1993.
    Contemporary defenders of philosophical vegetarianism are too often unaware of their historical predecessors. In this paper, I contribute to the rectification of this neglect by focusing on the case of Rousseau. In part one, I identify and articulate an argument against meat eating that is implicitly present in Rousseau’s writings, although it is never explicitly developed. In part two, I consider and respond to two objections that might be made to the claim that this argument should be attribut…Read more
  •  71
    Abortion and the Ways We Value Human Life
    Social Theory and Practice 26 (2): 347-352. 2000.
  •  46
    Thomas Hobbes and the Science of Moral Virtue
    Philosophical Quarterly 46 (185): 550. 1996.
    In Leviathan Thomas Hobbes defines moral philosophy as 'the science of Virtue and Vice', yet few modern readers take this description seriously. Moreover, it is typically assumed that Hobbes' ethical views are unrelated to his views of science. Influential modern interpreters have portrayed Hobbes as either an amoralist, or a moral contractarian, or a rule egoist, or a divine command theorist. David Boonin-Vail challenges all these assumptions and presents a new, and very unorthodox, interpretat…Read more
  •  42
    The Vegetarian Savage: Rousseau’s Critique of Meat Eating
    Environmental Ethics 15 (1): 75-84. 1993.
    Contemporary defenders of philosophical vegetarianism are too often unaware of their historical predecessors. In this paper, I contribute to the rectification of this neglect by focusing on the case of Rousseau. In part one, I identify and articulate an argument against meat eating that is implicitly present in Rousseau’s writings, although it is never explicitly developed. In part two, I consider and respond to two objections that might be made to the claim that this argument should be attribut…Read more
  •  41
    Competition and capitalism
    Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 2 (2-3): 183-188. 1988.
  •  40
    Ayn Rand and the Problem of Punishment
    Reason Papers 35 (1): 58-67. 2013.
  •  29
    Each of these two volumes grew out of what was originially intended to be a single chapter in a larger study of seventeenth-century liberalism. Although there is a strong degree of stylistic and methodological continuity between the two, neither book presupposes any familiarity with the other. I will therefore consider them separately.
  •  26
    Most arguments for or against abortion focus on one question: is the fetus a person? In this provocative and important book, David Boonin defends the claim that even if the fetus is a person with the same right to life you and I have, abortion should still be legal, and most current restrictions on abortion should be abolished.
  •  25
    A Defense of Abortion
    Cambridge University Press. 2002.
    David Boonin has written the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion yet published. Critically examining a wide range of arguments that attempt to prove that every human fetus has a right to life, he shows that each of these arguments fails on its own terms. He then explains how even if the fetus does have a right to life, abortion can still be shown to be morally permissible on the critique of abortion's own terms. Finally he considers several pro-life arguments…Read more
  •  23
    The Limits of Kindness, written by Caspar Hare
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (2): 244-247. 2017.
  •  16
    The Problem of Punishment
    Cambridge University Press. 2008.
    In this book, David Boonin examines the problem of punishment, and particularly the problem of explaining why it is morally permissible for the state to treat those who break the law in ways that would be wrong to treat those who do not? Boonin argues that there is no satisfactory solution to this problem and that the practice of legal punishment should therefore be abolished. Providing a detailed account of the nature of punishment and the problems that it generates, he offers a comprehensive a…Read more
  •  15
    Each of these two volumes grew out of what was originially intended to be a single chapter in a larger study of seventeenth-century liberalism. Although there is a strong degree of stylistic and methodological continuity between the two, neither book presupposes any familiarity with the other. I will therefore consider them separately.
  •  12
  •  12
    David Boonin presents a new account of the non-identity problem: a puzzle about our obligations to people who do not yet exist. He provides a critical survey of solutions to the problem that have been proposed, and concludes by developing an unorthodox alternative solution, one that differs fundamentally from virtually every other approach.