•  620
    What grounds human rights? How do we determine that something is a genuine human right? This chapter offers a new answer: human beings have human rights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. The fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life are certain goods, capacities, and options that human beings qua human beings need whatever else they qua individuals might need in order to pursue a characteristically good human life. This chapter explains how this Fundamental Conditions…Read more
  •  452
    Selecting children: The ethics of reproductive genetic engineering
    Philosophy Compass 3 (5): 973-991. 2008.
    Advances in reproductive genetic engineering have the potential to transform human lives. Not only do they promise to allow us to select children free of diseases, they can also enable us to select children with desirable traits. In this paper, I consider two clusters of arguments for the moral permissibility of reproductive genetic engineering, what I call the Perfectionist View and the Libertarian View; and two clusters of arguments against reproductive genetic engineering, what I call the Hum…Read more
  •  413
    A defense of intuitions
    Philosophical Studies 140 (2). 2008.
    Radical experimentalists argue that we should give up using intuitions as evidence in philosophy. In this paper, I first argue that the studies presented by the radical experimentalists in fact suggest that some intuitions are reliable. I next consider and reject a different way of handling the radical experimentalists' challenge, what I call the Argument from Robust Intuitions. I then propose a way of understanding why some intuitions can be unreliable and how intuitions can conflict, and I arg…Read more
  •  358
    The Basis of Human Moral Status
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (2): 159-179. 2010.
    When philosophers consider what moral status human beings have, they tend to find themselves either supporting the idea that not all human beings are rightholders or adopting what Peter Singer calls a 'speciesist' position, where speciesism is defined as morally favoring a particular species—in this case, human beings—over others without sufficient justification. In this paper, I develop what I call the 'genetic basis for moral agency' account of rightholding, and I propose that this account can…Read more
  •  219
    Time-Relative Interests and Abortion
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (2): 242-256. 2007.
    The concept of a time-relative interest is introduced by Jeff McMahan to solve certain puzzles about the badness of death. Some people (e.g. McMahan and David DeGrazia) believe that this concept can also be used to show that abortion is permissible. In this paper, I first argue that if the Time-Relative Interest Account permits abortion, then it would also permit infanticide.
  •  212
    Who Is Afraid of Numbers?: S. Matthew Liao
    Utilitas 20 (4): 447-461. 2008.
    In recent years, many non-consequentialists such as Frances Kamm and Thomas Scanlon have been puzzling over what has come to be known as the Number Problem, which is how to show that the greater number in a rescue situation should be saved without aggregating the claims of the many, a typical kind of consequentialist move that seems to violate the separateness of persons. In this article, I argue that these non-consequentialists may be making the task more difficult than necessary, because allow…Read more
  •  192
    The buck-passing account of value: lessons from Crisp
    Philosophical Studies 151 (3). 2010.
    T. M. Scanlon's buck-passing account of value (BPA) has been subjected to a barrage of criticisms. Recently, to be helpful to BPA, Roger Crisp has suggested that a number of these criticisms can be met if one makes some revisions to BPA. In this paper, I argue that if advocates of the buck-passing account accepted these revisions, they would effectively be giving up the buck-passing account as it is typically understood, that is, as an account concerned with the conceptual priority of reasons or…Read more
  •  186
    The embryo rescue case
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (2): 141-147. 2006.
    In the debate regarding the moral status of human embryos, the Embryo Rescue Case has been used to suggest that embryos are not rightholders. This case is premised on the idea that in a situation where one has a choice between saving some number of embryos or a child, it seems wrong to save the embryos and not the child. If so, it seems that embryos cannot be rightholders. In this paper, I argue that the Embryo Rescue Case does not independently show that embryos are not rightholders.
  •  179
    The idea of a duty to love
    Journal of Value Inquiry 40 (1): 1-22. 2006.
    Can there be a duty to love someone? The kind of love we will consider is the kind of highly intense interaction that two human beings seek that involves not only strongly valuing another person for the person’s sake and wanting to promote the person’s well-being for the person’s sake, but also desiring to be physically and psychologically close to each other and desiring that the other person reciprocates our love. This kind of interaction features in romantic love, parental love, love between …Read more
  •  174
    The right of children to be loved
    Journal of Political Philosophy 14 (4). 2006.
    A number of international organizations have claimed that children have a right to be loved, but there is a worry that this claim may just be an empty rhetoric. In this paper, I seek to show that there could be such a right by providing a justification for this right in terms of human rights, by demonstrating that love can be an appropriate object of a duty, and by proposing that biological parents should normally be made the primary bearers of this duty, while all other able persons in appropri…Read more
  •  166
    The organism view defended
    The Monist 89 (3): 334-350. 2006.
    What are you and I essentially? When do you and I come into and go out of existence? A common response is that we are essentially organisms, that is, we come into existence as organisms and go out of existence when we cease to be organisms. Jeff McMahan has put forward two arguments against the Organism View: the case of dicephalus and a special case of hemispheric commissurotomy. In this paper, I defend the Organism View against these two cases. Because it is possible to devise more McMahanian-…Read more
  •  142
    Agency and Human Rights
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1): 15-25. 2010.
    What grounds human rights? How do we determine that something is a human right? James Griffin has persuasively argued that the notion of agency should determine the content of human rights. However, Griffin's agency account faces the question of why agency should be the sole ground for human rights. For example, can Griffin's notion of agency by itself adequately explain such human rights as that against torture? Or, has Griffin offered a plausible explanation as to why one should not broaden th…Read more
  •  127
    The Loop Case and Kamm’s Doctrine of Triple Effect
    Philosophical Studies 146 (2): 223-231. 2008.
    Judith Jarvis Thomson's Loop Case is particularly significant in normative ethics because it questions the validity of the intuitively plausible Doctrine of Double Effect, according to which there is a significant difference between harm that is intended and harm that is merely foreseen and not intended. Recently, Frances Kamm has argued that what she calls the Doctrine of Triple Effect, which draws a distinction between acting because-of and acting in-order-to, can account for our judgment abou…Read more
  •  124
    Despite the therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem (HES) cells, many people believe that HES cell research should be banned. The reason is that the present method of extracting HES cells involves the destruction of the embryo, which for many is the beginning of a person. This paper examines a number of compromise solutions such as parthenogenesis, the use of defective embryos, genetically creating a "pseudo embryo" that can never form a placenta, and determining embryo death, and argues t…Read more
  •  123
    The normativity of memory modification
    Neuroethics 1 (2): 85-99. 2008.
    The prospect of using memory modifying technologies raises interesting and important normative concerns. We first point out that those developing desirable memory modifying technologies should keep in mind certain technical and user-limitation issues. We next discuss certain normative issues that the use of these technologies can raise such as truthfulness, appropriate moral reaction, self-knowledge, agency, and moral obligations. Finally, we propose that as long as individuals using these techn…Read more
  •  120
    Human Engineering and Climate Change
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (2). 2012.
    Anthropogenic climate change is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. There is ample evidence that climate change is likely to affect adversely many aspects of life for all people around the world, and that existing solutions such as geoengineering might be too risky and ordinary behavioural and market solutions might not be sufficient to mitigate climate change. In this paper, we consider a new kind of solution to climate change, what we call human engineering, which invo…Read more
  •  113
    Many people believe in the intention principle, according to which an agent’s intention in performing an act can sometimes make an act that would otherwise have been permissible impermissible, other things being equal. Judith Jarvis Thomson, Frances Kamm and Thomas Scanlon have offered cases that seem to show that it can be permissible for an agent to act even when the agent has bad intentions. If valid, these cases would seem to cast doubt on the intention principle. In this paper, I point out …Read more
  •  110
    The Ethics of Enhancement
    with Julian Savulescu and David Wasserman
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3): 159-161. 2008.
    No Abstract
  •  98
    The Genetic Account of Moral Status: A Defense
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (2): 265-277. 2012.
    Christopher Grau argues that the genetic basis for moral agency account of rightholding is problematic because it fails to grant all human beings the moral status of rightholding; it grants the status of rightholding to entities that do not intuitively deserve such status; and it assumes that the genetic basis for moral agency has intrinsic/final value, but the genetic basis for moral agency only has instrumental value. Grau also argues that those who are inclined to hold that all human beings a…Read more
  •  95
    The Closeness Problem and the Doctrine of Double Effect: A Way Forward
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (4): 849-863. 2016.
    A major challenge to the Doctrine of Double Effect is the concern that an agent’s intention can be identified in such a fine-grained way as to eliminate an intention to harm from a putative example of an intended harm, and yet, the resulting case appears to be a case of impermissibility. This is the so-called “closeness problem.” Many people believe that one can address the closeness problem by adopting Warren Quinn’s version of the DDE, call it DDE*, which distinguishes between harmful direct a…Read more
  •  92
    Parental love pills: Some ethical considerations
    Bioethics 25 (9): 489-494. 2011.
    It may soon be possible to develop pills that allow parents to induce in themselves more loving behaviour, attitudes and emotions towards their children. In this paper, I consider whether pharmacologically induced parental love can satisfy reasonable conditions of authenticity; why anyone would be interested in taking such parental love pills at all, and whether inducing parental love pharmacologically promotes narcissism or results in self-instrumentalization. I also examine how the availabilit…Read more
  •  90
  •  83
    In explicating his version of the Organism View, Eric Olson argues that you begin to exist only after twinning is no longer possible and that you cannot survive a process of inorganic replacement. Assuming the correctness of the Organism View, but pace Olson, I argue in this paper that the Organism View does not require that you believe either proposition. The claim I shall make about twinning helps to advance a debate that currently divides defenders of the Organism View, while the claim I shal…Read more
  •  74
    Are 'ex Ante' enhancements always permissible?
    American Journal of Bioethics 5 (3). 2005.
    Frances Kamm distinguishes between changes or enhancements that are made before a child exists (ex ante changes) and those that are made once a child exists (ex post changes), and she argues that ex ante changes do not show disrespect or, as Michael Sandel would put it, lack of love, for a person, since the person does not yet exist. In this paper, I argue that it is important to distinguish between ex ante enhancements that are morally neutral and those that are morally dubious, and that the la…Read more
  •  72
    Aristotle’s view on “the right of practice”: An investigation into Aristotle’s theory of action (review)
    Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (2): 251-263. 2009.
    The concept of right or fit is an important element entailed, but not fully articulated, in the concept of action or practice in Aristotle’s theory of virtue; which, however, turns to be of the utmost importance in later Western ethics. Right is concerned with both feelings and actions, and is not the same for all individuals. It lies in between the two extremes of the spectrum of practical affairs, yet by no means equidistant from them. This account of the concept of fitness or right is derived…Read more
  •  68
    The Right to Be Loved
    Oxford University Press USA. 2015.
    S. Matthew Liao argues here that children have a right to be loved. To do so he investigates questions such as whether children are rightholders; what grounds a child's right to beloved; whether love is an appropriate object of a right; and other philosophical and practical issues. His proposal is that all human beings have rights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life; therefore, as human beings, children have human rights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. …Read more
  •  61
    Biological Parenting as a Human Right
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (6): 652-668. 2016.
    _ Source: _Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 652 - 668 Do biological parents have the right to parent their own biological children? It might seem obvious that the answer is yes, but the philosophical justification for this right is uncertain. In recent years, there has been a flurry of philosophical activity aimed at providing fresh justifications for this right. In this paper, I shall propose a new answer, namely, the right to parent one’s own biological children is a human right. I call this the human r…Read more
  •  57
    Issues in the pharmacological induction of emotions
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3): 178-192. 2008.
    abstract   In this paper, we examine issues raised by the possibility of regulating emotions through pharmacological means. We argue that emotions induced through these means can be authentic phenomenologically, and that the manner of inducing them need not make them any less our own than emotions arising 'naturally'. We recognize that in taking drugs to induce emotions, one may lose opportunities for self-knowledge; act narcissistically; or treat oneself as a mere means. But we propose that the…Read more
  •  54
    The concept of right or fit is an important element entailed, but not fully articulated, in the concept of action or practice in Aristotle's theory of virtue; which, however, turns to be of the utmost importance in later Western ethics. Right is concerned with both feelings and actions, and is not the same for all individuals. It lies in between the two extremes of the spectrum of practical affairs, yet by no means equidistant from them. This account of the concept of fitness or right is derived…Read more
  •  50
    Is there a duty to share genetic information?
    Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5): 306-309. 2009.
    A number of prominent bioethicists such as Mike Parker, Anneke Lucassen, and Bartha Maria Knoppers have called for the adoption of a system in which by default, genetic information is shared among family members. In this paper, I suggest that a main reason given in support of this call to share genetic information among family members is the idea that genetic information is essentially familial in nature. Upon examining this ‘familial nature of genetics’ argument, I show that most genetic inform…Read more