•  675
    The nature and value of rights
    Journal of Value Inquiry 4 (4): 243-260. 1970.
  •  464
    Resolving the Debate on Libertarianism and Abortion
    Libertarian Papers 8 267-272. 2016.
    I take issue with the view that libertarian theory does not imply any particular stand on abortion. Liberty is the absence of interference with people’s wills—interests, wishes, and desires. Only entities that have such are eligible for the direct rights of libertarian theory. Foetuses do not; and if aborted, there is then no future person whose rights are violated. Hence the “liberal” view of abortion: women (especially) may decide whether to bear the children they have conceived. Birth is a go…Read more
  •  347
    Pacifism: A philosophical analysis
    Ethics 75 (4): 259-271. 1965.
    Of all the attitudes and theories associated with or identified as "pacifism," only the doctrine that everyone ought not to resist violence with force is of philosophical interest, And it is logically incoherent. Pacifism's popularity rests on confusions about what the doctrine really is. If we have rights, We have the right to prevent infringements upon them. We have the right to use force to protect our rights, And in the degree necessary to accomplish that end. (staff)
  •  258
    The discovery that people far away are in bad shape seems to generate a sense of guilt on the part of many articulate people in our part of the world, even though they are no worse off now that we’ve heard about them than they had been before. I will take it as given that we are certainly responsible for evils we inflict on others, no matter where, and that we owe those people compensation. Not all similarly agree that it is not in general our duty to make other people better off, and therefore …Read more
  •  251
    Utilitarianism and formalism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1): 58-72. 1965.
    No abstract
  •  245
    Collective responsibility
    The Journal of Ethics 6 (2): 179-198. 2002.
    The basic bearer of responsibility is individuals, because that isall there are – nothing else can literally be the bearer of fullresponsibility. Claims about group responsibility therefore needanalysis. This would be impossible if all actions must be understoodas ones that could be performed whether or not anyone else exists.Individuals often act by virtue of membership in certain groups;often such membership bears a causal role in our behavior, andsometimes people act deliberately in order to …Read more
  •  222
    Utilitarianism and new generations
    Mind 76 (301): 62-72. 1967.
  •  195
    Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality is G.A. Cohens attempt to rescue something of the socialist outlook on society from the challenge of libertarianism, which Cohen identifies with the work of Robert Nozick in his famous book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Sympathizing with the leading idea that a person must belong to himself, and thus be unavailable for forced redistribution of his efforts, Cohen is at pains to reconcile the two. This cannot be done – they are flatly contrary. Moreover, equalit…Read more
  •  184
    Is world poverty a moral problem for the wealthy?
    The Journal of Ethics 8 (4): 397-408. 2004.
    This article discusses the question of poverty and wealth in light of several theses put forward by Larry Temkin. The claim that there is a sort of cosmic injustice involved when great disparities of ability or of wealth are found. He is concerned especially about disparities that are undeserved. It is agreed that this is unfortunate, but not agreed that they are unjust in a sense that supports the imposition of rectification on anyone else. Nor is poverty typically undeserved in the only really…Read more
  •  183
    Moral Problems of Population
    The Monist 57 (1): 62-86. 1973.
  •  159
    Cohen’s Rescue
    The Journal of Ethics 14 (3-4): 263-334. 2010.
    G. A. Cohen's Rescuing Justice and Equality proposes that both concepts need rescuing from the work of John Rawls. Especially, it is concerned with Rawls' famous second principle of justice according to which social primary goods should be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution is to the benefit of the worst off. The question is why this would ever be necessary if all parties are just. Cohen and I agree that Rawls cannot really justify inequalities on the basis given. But he also thi…Read more
  •  153
    Population and Having Children Now
    Journal of Practical Ethics 5 (2): 49-61. 2017.
    This paper aims to state the obvious – the commonsense, rational approach to child-producing. We have no general obligation to promote either the “general happiness” or the equalization of this and that. We have children if we want them, if their life prospects are decent – and if we can afford them, which is a considerable part of their life prospects being OK – and provided that in doing so we do not inflict injury on others. It’s extremely difficult to do this latter, but affording them, in r…Read more
  •  150
    Welfare and Wealth, Poverty and Justice in Today’s World
    The Journal of Ethics 8 (4): 305-348. 2004.
    This article argues that there is no sound basis for thinking that we have a general and strong duty to rectify disparities of wealth around the world, apart from the special case where some become wealthy by theft or fraud. The nearest thing we have to a rational morality for all has to be built on the interests of all, and they include substantial freedoms, but not substantial entitlements to others' assistance. It is also pointed out that the situation of the world's poor is not that of victi…Read more
  •  127
    The case for free market environmentalism
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 8 (2): 145-156. 1995.
    Environmental Ethics is the ethics of how we humans are to relate to each other about the environment we live in. The best way to adjust inevitable differences among us in this respect is by private property. Each person takes the best care of what he owns, and ownership entails the free market, which enables people to make mutually advantageous trades with those who might use it even better. Public regulation, by contrast, becomes management in the interests of the regulators, or of special int…Read more
  •  111
    Brettschneider argues that the granting of property rights to all entails a right of exclusion by acquirer/owners against all others, that this exclusionary right entails a loss on their part, and that to make up for this, property owners owe any nonowners welfare rights. Against this, I argue that exclusion is not in fact a cost. Everyone is to have liberty rights, which are negative: what people are excluded from is the liberty to attack and despoil others. Everyone, whether an owner of extern…Read more
  •  100
    Animal Rights
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1). 1977.
    What do we owe to the lower animals, if anything? The issues raised by this question are among the most fascinating and fundamental in ethical theory. They provide a real watershed for the moral philosopher and, on perhaps the most widely professed view, a trenchant test of consistency in ethical practice. Among the virtues of these two challenging books is that they make painfully clear that there has been a paucity of clear and plausible argument in support of the nearly universal tendency of …Read more
  •  94
    Property and rights
    Social Philosophy and Policy 27 (1): 101-134. 2010.
    I present what I take to be the approach to property rights, in which property is basically a unitary concept: owners are the ones with the right to do, and prohibit others from doing, whatever there is to do with the thing owned, within the limits imposed by the rights of others to their things. I expound and defend the idea of in more or less Lockean mode. I also point to the many difficulties of application of the general idea, leading to the need to negotiate at many points. For example, the…Read more
  •  90
    Is pacifism consistent?
    Ethics 78 (2): 148-150. 1968.
  •  88
    On a Case for Animal Rights
    The Monist 70 (1): 31-49. 1987.
    Down through the past decade and more, no philosophical writer has taken a greater interest in the issues of how we ought to act in relation to animals, nor pressed more strongly the case for according them rights, than Tom Regan, in many articles, reviews, and exchanges at scholarly conferences and in print. Now, in The Case for Animal Rights we have a substantial volume in which Regan most fully and systematically presents his case for a strong panoply of rights for animals. The argument is di…Read more
  •  88
    The Relevance of Decision Theory to Ethical Theory
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (5): 497-520. 2010.
    Morality for the purposes of this paper consists of sets of rules or principles intended for the general regulation of conduct for all. Intuitionist accounts of morality are rejected as making reasoned analysis of morals impossible. In many interactions, there is partial conflict and partial cooperation. From the general social point of view, the rational thing to propose is that we steer clear of conflict and promote cooperation. This is what it is rational to propose to reinforce, and to assis…Read more
  •  72
    On Dworkinian Equality
    Social Philosophy and Policy 1 (1): 1. 1983.
    1. INTRODUCTION Professor Dworkin's writings on moral and political subjects have never failed to interest me in the past, and the two-part article “What is Equality” which is the subject of this paper, is no exception. Its wealth of relevant distinctions is bound to be useful to every serious student of the subject, whatever – or, in view of the range of opinions on these matters now current, perhaps I should say almost whatever – his ideological proclivities, and whether or not he is sympathet…Read more
  •  68
    Political Correctness: For and Against
    Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 1994.
    Two prominent philosophers here engage in a forthright debate over some of the centrally disputed topics in the political correctness controversy now taking place on college campuses across the nation, including feminism, campus speech codes, the western canon, and the nature of truth. Friedman and Narveson conclude the volume with direct replies to each other's positions
  •  65
    Three Analysis Retributivists
    Analysis 34 (6). 1974.
  •  65
    Egalitarians hold that some good things should, in principle, be distributed equally among all people. Which good things? Why just those and not others? Why are they to be equalized only among humans and not, say, between humans and cats? And why is the equalization to be confined within the borders of the author's State, rather than practiced over the whole human race (at least)? Those are all matters for the particular egalitarian to explain, as best he can. None, I think, can be explained sat…Read more
  •  56
    Moral Matters
    Broadview Press. 1993; 2nd editio.
    Chapter One Moral Issues and Moral Theory The Subject Matter of This Inquiry Until about thirty years ago, courses in ethics were devoted almost exclusively ...
  •  56
    Positive/Negative: Why Bother?
    Tulane Studies in Philosophy 33 51-65. 1985.
  •  55
    Morality and non-violence
    Philosophia 8 (2-3): 447-459. 1978.
  •  55
    Terrorism and Pacifism: Why We Should Condemn Both
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2): 157-172. 2003.
    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 furthe…Read more