•  248526
    The Greatest Vice?
    Journal of Practical Ethics 4 (2): 1-24. 2016.
    History teems with instances of “man’s inhumanity to man.” Some wrongs are perpetrated by individuals; most ghastly evils were committed by groups or nations. Other horrific evils were established and sustained by legal systems and supported by cultural mores. This demands explanation. I describe and evaluate four common explanations of evil before discussing more mundane and psychologically informed explanations of wrong-doing. Examining these latter forms helps isolate an additional factor whi…Read more
  •  434
    Licensing parents
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 9 (2): 182-197. 1980.
    In this essay I shall argue that the state should require all parents to be licensed. My main goal is to demonstrate that the licensing of parents is theoretically desirable, though I shall also argue that a workable and just licensing program actually could be established.
  •  397
    The truth in ethical relativism
    Journal of Social Philosophy 22 (1): 146-154. 1991.
    Ethical relativism is the thesis that ethical principles or judgments are relative to the individual or culture. When stated so vaguely relativism is embraced by numerous lay persons and a sizeable contingent of philosophers. Other philosophers, however, find the thesis patently false, even wonder how anyone could seriously entertain it. Both factions are on to something, yet both miss something significant as well. Those who whole-heartedly embrace relativism note salient respects in which ethi…Read more
  •  359
    The International Encyclopedia of Ethics (edited book)
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2013.
    Unmatched in scholarship and scope, _The International Encyclopedia of Ethics_ is the definitive single-source reference work on Ethics, available both in print and online. Comprises over 700 entries, ranging from 1000 to 10,000 words in length, written by an international cast of subject experts Is arranged across 9 fully cross-referenced volumes including a comprehensive index Provides clear definitions and explanations of all areas of ethics including the topics, movements, arguments, and key…Read more
  •  266
    This volume is a philosophical introduction and exploration of the nature and value of personal relationships. It is an ideal text for introductory philosophy, ethics, or applied ethics courses.
  •  259
    Ethics in Practice: An Anthology (edited book)
    Wiley-Blackwell. 1997.
    The fourth edition of _Ethics in Practice_ offers an impressive collection of 70 new, revised, and classic essays covering 13 key ethical issues. Essays integrate ethical theory and the discussion of practical moral problems into a text that is ideal for introductory and applied ethics courses. A fully updated and revised edition of this authoritative anthology of classic and contemporary essays covering a wide range of ethical and moral issues Integrates ethical theory with discussions of pract…Read more
  •  255
    Throughout this book, I made frequent reference to a wide range of moral issues: honesty, jealousy, sexual fidelity, commitment, paternalism, caring, etc. This suggests there is an intricate connection between morality and personal relationships. There is. Of course personal relationships do not always promote moral values, nor do people find all relationships salutary. Some friendships, marriages, and kin relationships are anything but healthy or valuable. We all know (and perhaps are in) some …Read more
  •  253
    Gun control
    Ethics 110 (2): 263-281. 2000.
    Many of us assume we must either oppose or support gun control. Not so. We have a range of alternatives. Even this way of speaking oversimplifies our choices since there are two distinct scales on which to place alternatives. One scale concerns the degree (if at all) to which guns should be abolished. This scale moves from those who want no abolition (NA) of any guns, through those who want moderate abolition (MA) - to forbid access to some subclasses of guns - to those who want absolute aboliti…Read more
  •  210
    Belief and the Basis of Humor
    with Niall Shanks
    American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (4): 329-39. 1993.
    When theorists have studied humor, they often assumed that laughter was either a necessary or a sufficient condition of humor. It is neither. Although humorous events usually evoke laughter, they do not do so invariably. Humor may evoke smiles or smirks which fall short of laughter. Thus it is not a necessary condition. Nor is it a sufficient condition. People may laugh because they are uncomfortable (nervous laughter), they may laugh at someone (derisive laughter), they may laugh because they a…Read more
  •  199
    Honesty and Intimacy
    with George Graham
    Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 3-18. 1986.
    Current profess ional and la y lore ove rlook the ro le of hone sty in develop ing and s ustaining intimate relationships. We w ish to ass ert its importa nce. W e begin b y analyz ing the no tion of intimac y. An intim ate encounter or exchange, we argue, is one in which one verbally or non-verbally privately reveals something about oneself, and does so in a sensitive, trusting way. An intimate relationship is one marked by regular intimate encounters or excha nges. Then, we co nsider two sorts…Read more
  •  197
    Real men
    In Larry May & Robert Strikwerda (eds.), Masculinity, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 59--74. 1992.
    "Ah, for the good old days, when men were men and women were women." Men who express such sentiments long for the world where homosexuals were ensconced in their closets and women were sexy, demure, and subservient. That is a world well lost -- though not as lost as I would like. More than a few men still practice misogyny and homophobia. The defects of such attitudes are obvious. My concern here is not to document these defects but to ask how real men, men who reject stereotypical male-female r…Read more
  •  195
    My Conscience May Be My Guide, but You May not Need to Honor It
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (1): 44-58. 2017.
    A number of health care professionals assert a right to be exempt from performing some actions currently designated as part of their standard professional responsibilities. Most advocates claim that they should be excused from these duties simply by averring that they are conscientiously opposed to performing them. They believe that they need not explain or justify their decisions to anyone; nor should they suffer any undesirable consequences of such refusal. Those who claim this right err by…Read more
  •  189
    Licensing Parents Revisited
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (4): 327-343. 2010.
    Although systems for licensing professionals are far from perfect, and their problems and costs should not be ignored, they are justified as a necessary means of protecting innocent people's vital interests. Licensing defends patients from inept doctors, pharmacists, and physical therapists; it protects clients from unqualified lawyers. We should protect people who are highly vulnerable to those who are supposed to serve them, those with whom they have a special relationship. Requiring professio…Read more
  •  182
    The Practice of Ethics
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2006.
    _The Practice of Ethics_ is an outstanding guide to the burgeoning field of applied ethics, and offers a coherent narrative that is both theoretically and pragmatically grounded for framing practical issues. Discusses a broad range of contemporary issues such as racism, euthanasia, animal rights, and gun control. Argues that ethics must be put into practice in order to be effective. Draws upon relevant insights from history, psychology, sociology, law and biology, as well as philosophy. An excel…Read more
  •  156
    Circumscribed autonomy: Children, care, and custody
    In Uma Narayan & Julia Bartkowiak (eds.), Having and Raising Children, Pennsylvania State University Press. 1998.
    For many people the idea that children are autonomous agents whose autonomy the parents should respect and the state should protect is laughable. For them, such an idea is the offspring of idle academics who never had, or at least never seriously interacted with, children. Autonomy is the province of full fledged rational adults, not immature children. It is easy to see why many people embrace this view. Very young children do not have the experience or knowledge to make informed decisions about…Read more
  •  148
    Mother Teresa spends her life caring for the poor and the infirm; J. Paul Getty, Jr., spends his life making investments and directing corporations. Although we might be unhappy doing what they do, we assume they are satisfied. Mother Teresa enjoys her work and would be miserable if she had to mastermind corporate takeovers. Getty would be wretched if he had to care for lepers or become a lawn chair salesman.
  •  140
    Freedom of religion and children
    Public Affairs Quarterly (1): 75-87. 1989.
    In a number of recent federal court cases parents have sought to have their children exempted from certain school activities on the grounds that the children's participation in those activities violates their (the parents') right to freedom of religion. In Mozert v. Hawkin's County Public Schools (827 F. 2nd 1058) fundamentalist parents of several Tennessee public school children brought civil action against the school board for violating their constitutional right of freedom of religion. These …Read more
  •  133
    In Defense of Gun Control
    Oup Usa. 2018.
    The gun control debate is more complex than most disputants acknowledge. We are not tasked with answering a single question: should we have gun control? There are three distinct policy questions confronting us: who should we permit to have which guns, and how should we regulate the acquisition, storage, and carrying of guns people may legitimately own? To answer these questions we must decide whether (and which) people have a right to bear arms, what kind of right they have, and how stringent…Read more
  •  131
    Living on a Slippery Slope
    Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4): 475-499. 2005.
    Our actions, individually and collectively, inevitably affect others, ourselves, and our institutions. They shape the people we become and the kind of world we inhabit. Sometimes those consequences are positive, a giant leap for moral humankind. Other times they are morally regressive. This propensity of current actions to shape the future is morally important. But slippery slope arguments are a poor way to capture it. That is not to say we can never develop cogent slippery slope arguments. None…Read more
  •  125
    The Origin of Speciesism
    with Niall Shanks
    Philosophy 71 (275): 41-. 1996.
    Anti-vivisectionists charge that animal experimenters are speciesists people who unjustly discriminate against members of other species. Until recently most defenders of experimentation denied the charge. After the publication of `The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research' in the New England Journal of Medicine , experimenters had a more aggressive reply: `I am a speciesist. Speciesism is not merely plausible, it is essential for right conduct...'1. Most researchers now embrace Cohe…Read more
  •  122
    Controlling guns
    Criminal Justice Ethics 20 (1): 34-39. 2001.
    Wheeler, Stark, and Stell have raised many interesting points concerning gun control that merit extended treatment. Here, however, I will focus only on two. I will then briefly expand on the proposal I offered in the original paper.
  •  117
    Plantinga on the Free Will Defense
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2). 1980.
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Spring, 1980, 123-32.
  •  115
    Private Conscience, Public Acts
    with Eva LaFollette
    Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (5): 249-254. 2007.
    A growing number of medical professionals claim a right of conscience, a right to refuse to perform any professional duty they deem immoral—and to do so with impunity. We argue that professionals do not have the unqualified right of conscience. At most they have a highly qualified right. We focus on the claims of pharmacists, since they are the professionals most commonly claiming this right.
  •  112
    Util-izing animals
    with Niall Shanks
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 12 (1): 13-25. 1995.
    Biomedical experimentation on animals is justified, researchers say, because of its enormous benefits to human being. Sure an imals die a nd suffer , but that is m orally insignificant since the benefits of research incalculably outweigh the evils. Although this utilitarian claim appears straightforward and uncontroversial, it is neither straightforw ard n ot uncontroversial. This defense of animal experimentation is like ly to succeed only by rejecting three widely held moral presumptions. W e …Read more
  •  112
    Pragmatic Ethics
    In Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, Blackwell. pp. 400--419. 1997.
    Pragmatism is a philosophical movement developed near the turn of the century in the of several prominent American philosophers, most notably, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. Although many contemporary analytic philosophers never studied American Philosophy in graduate schoo l, analytic philosophy has been significantly shaped by philosophers strongly influenced by that tradition, most especially W. V. Quine, Donald Davidson, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty. Like other ph…Read more
  •  108
    Two models of models in biomedical research
    with Niall Shanks
    Philosophical Quarterly 45 (179): 141-160. 1995.
    Biomedical researchers claim there is significant biomedical information about humans which can be discovered only through experiments on intact animal systems (AMA p. 2). Although epidemiological studies, computer simulations, clinical investigation, and cell and tissue cultures have become important weapons in the biomedical scientists' arsenal, these are primarily "adjuncts to the use of animals in research" (Sigma Xi p. 76). Controlled laboratory experiments are the core of the scientific en…Read more
  •  103
    Gun control: The issues
    Criminal Justice Ethics 20 (1): 17-18. 2001.
    No abstract
  •  102
    Why libertarianism is mistaken
    In John Arthur & William Shaw (eds.), Justice and Economic Distribution (2nd), Prentice-hall. 1979.
    Taxing the income of some people to provide goods or services to others, even those with urgent needs, is unjust. It is a violation of the wage earner's rights, a restriction of his freedom. At least that is what the libertarian tells us. I disagree. Not all redistribution of income is unjust; or so I shall argue.
  •  101
    Mandatory Drug Testing
    In S. Luper-Foy C. Brown (ed.), Drugs, Morality, and the Law, Garland. 1994.
    By some estimates one-third of American corporations now require their employees to be tested for drug u se. The se requ iremen ts are com patible with general employment law while prom oting the public's in terest in figh ting drug use. Mo reover , the Unite d State s Supreme Court has ruled that drug tes ting prog rams a re cons titutionally p ermiss ible within both the public and the private sectors. It appears m andatory drug tes ting is a permanent fixture of American corporate life. (Baka…Read more
  •  100
    Animal experimentation: The legacy of Claude Bernard
    with Niall Shanks
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 8 (3). 1994.
    Claude Bernard, the father of scientific physiology, believed that if medicine was to become truly scientiifc, it would have to be based on rigorous and controlled animal experiments. Bernard instituted a paradigm which has shaped physiological practice for most of the twentieth century. ln this paper we examine how Bernards commitment to hypothetico-deductivism and determinism led to (a) his rejection of the theory of evolution; (b) his minima/ization of the role of clinical medicine and epidem…Read more