Matching Items (8)

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On The Desirability af Immortaliry

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Many of us regularly make decisions with the intention of living longer, healthier lives. We try to eat right, exercise, take vitamins, get checkups, and keep our bodies in general

Many of us regularly make decisions with the intention of living longer, healthier lives. We try to eat right, exercise, take vitamins, get checkups, and keep our bodies in general good shape. Some of the enhancements we make that are meant to increase the length or quality of life go even further: organ or joint replacement surgeries, cosmetic surgeries, cancer treatments, etc. These kinds of enhancements and attempts at increasing one's life, or, in some cases, the feeling or look of youth, are not the focus of this essay. These adjustments are too minor. Here I focus on the potential for significant lifespan extension (SLE), with "significant" being the operative word. For the purposes of this article, I shall define SLE as an extension to the human lifespan that is at least 100 years greater than humans 'current lifespan, which now maxes-out at about 120 years. Lifespan extension of merely a few years, say if people could live to 130 or so, would not likely result in vast personal and social differences. However, SLE promises to have more interesting and impactful potential results.

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  • 2012-05

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An Exploration of Value Objectivity

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the question of whether there are objective truths about what is good and bad in a sense that extends beyond merely meeting

The purpose of this paper is to explore the question of whether there are objective truths about what is good and bad in a sense that extends beyond merely meeting (or failing to meet) certain pre-determined standards. An answer to this question would provide a basis for answering more specific questions, such as: Are there acts that are universally bad? Are there truths about what kinds of life are the most worth living independent of the aims people choose for themselves? Is it possible for one person to be right in the case of value disagreement in this non-pre-determined sense? If the answer to these questions is Yes, what facts make this true? Lastly, I will reflect on what conclusions this exploration warrants adopting, and their possible implications.

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  • 2012-12

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Three worries about moderate deontology

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Perhaps the most common and forceful criticism directed at absolutist deontological theories is that they allow for the occurrence of morally catastrophic events whenever such events could only and certainly

Perhaps the most common and forceful criticism directed at absolutist deontological theories is that they allow for the occurrence of morally catastrophic events whenever such events could only and certainly be prevented by the violation of a deontological constraint. Some deontologists simply bite the bullet, accept this implication of their theory, and give their best arguments as to why it does not undermine absolutism. Others, I think more plausibly, opt for an alternative deontological theory known as ‘moderate deontology’ and are thereby able to evade the criticism since moderate deontology permits violations of constraints under certain extreme circumstances. The goal of this thesis is to provide a defense of moderate deontology against three worries about the view, namely, that it is more accurately interpreted as a kind of pluralism than as a deontology, that there is no non-arbitrary way of setting thresholds for deontological constraints, and that the positing of thresholds for constraints would lead to some problematic results in practice. I will respond to each of these worries in turn. In particular, I will argue that moderate deontology is properly understood as a deontological theory despite its partial concern for consequentialist considerations, that thresholds for deontological constraints can be successfully located without arbitrariness by democratic appeal to people’s commonsense moral intuitions, and that the alleged problematic results of positing thresholds for constraints can be effectively explained away by the moderate deontologist.

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  • 2017

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Campaign promises: a complicated way of producing perlocutionary effects

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The current landscape of political speech is ripe for deep philosophical analysis yet has not been thoroughly investigated through the lens of speech-act theory. In this space, I believe I

The current landscape of political speech is ripe for deep philosophical analysis yet has not been thoroughly investigated through the lens of speech-act theory. In this space, I believe I contribute something novel to the area, namely a notion of campaign promises that differs from standard promises that enables a new way of interpreting this kind of speech. Over the course of this paper, it is argued that Campaign Promises (CP) are non-trivially and philosophically distinct from the notion of Standard Promises (SP). There are many philosophical distinctions to draw, including moral, political and logical, but my focus is largely in philosophy of language. I engage the work of Searle, Austin and Wittgenstein among others to investigate what I take to be the following important differences from CP and SP: First, that CP and SP differ in the “best interest” condition, of the condition that a promise must be in the best interest of the promisee in order for that promise to obtain, which in turn, produces the effect of threatening those who do not want the promise to come about. Secondly, that CP serve to reinforce world views in a way that is non-trivially different from SP. To do this, I employ Wittgensteinian language game theory to bridge the gap between traditional Searlian speech act theory to more modern McGowan-style oppressive language models. Through this process I develop and defend this alternative way of understanding and evaluating CP and political speech.

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  • 2019

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Integrating justice and fairness as a resolution to indigenous environmental harm

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Principles of climate mitigation in environmental ethics often draw on either considerations of fairness and forward-looking concerns, or on justice and backward-looking concerns. That is, according to some theorists, considerations

Principles of climate mitigation in environmental ethics often draw on either considerations of fairness and forward-looking concerns, or on justice and backward-looking concerns. That is, according to some theorists, considerations of the current distribution of climate benefits and burdens are foremost, while others take repairing historic wrongs as paramount. Some theorists integrate considerations of fairness and justice to formulate hybrid climate principles. Such an integrative approach is promising particularly in the context of environmental harm to indigenous subsistence peoples, who are among those suffering the most from climate change. I argue that existing integrative climate principles tend not to sufficiently emphasize considerations of backward-looking justice. This is a problem for indigenous peoples seeking reparations for environmental harm and violations of their human rights. Specifically, indigenous people in the Arctic suffer a cultural harm from climate change as they lose their land, and their way of life, to erosion, cementing their status as climate refugees. I argue that the current climate situation facing Native Arctic people is unfair according to Rawls' second principle of justice. In addition, the situation is unjust as indigenous people suffer from emissions by others and few attempts are made for reparations. Thus, Rawlsian fairness combined with reparative justice provide a befitting theoretical framework. I conclude that an acceptable climate principle will adequately integrate considerations of both fairness and justice, both forward-looking and backward-looking considerations.

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  • 2014

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A defense of transitivity

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This thesis seeks to defend transitivity as a rational constraint on preferences against two putative counterexamples to transitivity. This thesis is divided into three sections. In the first section, I

This thesis seeks to defend transitivity as a rational constraint on preferences against two putative counterexamples to transitivity. This thesis is divided into three sections. In the first section, I consider two famous and popular arguments in defense of transitivity and argue they are insufficient to adequately defend transitivity. I then outline a desiderata for successful arguments in defense of transitivity and identify some basic assumptions I will be making throughout the thesis. In section two, I consider the first putative counterexample to transitivity: Quinn’s Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. I offer two plausible interpretations of Quinn’s puzzle and argue that both fail. One because it does not genuinely induce intransitive preferences, and the other because the situation it requires is logically impossible. I conclude this section by defending my arguments against known objections in the literature. Finally, in the third section, I consider a counterexample to transitivity from Larry Temkin that has received little attention in the literature. I argue that while the initial counterexample is unpersuasive it can be augmented and made into a more forceful argument. I then argue that this improved counterexample fails due to some erroneous assumptions prevalent in the literature on incomparability. I conclude the thesis with a brief summary and some closing remarks.

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  • 2015

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Exploitation in clinical drug trials

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With the number of internationally-run clinical drug trials increasing, the double standards between those in developed nations and those in developing nations are being scrutinized under the ethical microscope. Many

With the number of internationally-run clinical drug trials increasing, the double standards between those in developed nations and those in developing nations are being scrutinized under the ethical microscope. Many argue that several pharmaceutical companies and researchers are exploiting developing nation participants. Two issues of concern are the use of a placebo control when an effective alternative treatment exists and the lack of drug availability to the country that hosted the clinical trial should the experimental drug prove effective. Though intuitively this seems like an instance of exploitation, philosophically, exploitation theories cannot adequately account for the wrongdoing in these cases. My project has two parts. First, after explaining why the theories of Alan Wertheimer, John Lawrence Hill, and Ruth Sample fail to explain the exploitation in clinical drug research, I provide an alternative account of exploitation that can explain why the double standard in clinical research is harmful. Rather than craft a single theory encompassing all instances of exploitation, I offer an account of a type, or subset, of exploitation that I refer to as comparative exploitation. The double standards in clinical research fall under the category of comparative exploitation. Furthermore, while many critics maintain that cases of comparative exploitation, including clinical research, are mutually beneficial, they are actually harmful to its victims. I explain the harm of comparative exploitation using Ben Bradley's counterfactual account of harm and Larry May's theory of sharing responsibility. The second part of my project focuses on the "standard of care" argument, which most defenders use to justify the double standard in clinical research. I elaborate on Ruth Macklin's position that advocates of the "standard of care" position make three faulty assumptions: placebo-controlled trials are the gold standard, the only relevant question responsive to the host country's health needs is "Is the experimental product being studied better than the 'nothing' now available to the population?", and the only way of obtaining affordable products is to test cheap alternatives to replace the expensive ones. In the end, I advocate moving towards a universalizing of standards in order to avoid exploitation.

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  • 2013

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Everybody Wants to Rule the World: Comparing Democracy and Epistocracy on the Problem of Incompetence

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This paper examines the strength of a recent argument made against democracy. The notion of epistocracy, a system of government where the wise or the knowers rule, has garnered some

This paper examines the strength of a recent argument made against democracy. The notion of epistocracy, a system of government where the wise or the knowers rule, has garnered some attention of late. These theories of epistocracy have traditionally struggled with questions of political legitimacy and authority. In Against Democracy, Jason Brennan articulates an alternative theory for epistocracy which may prove more promising. Brennan argues instead that democracy faces objections of political legitimacy which epistocracy avoids because democracy either harms or violates rights as a result of granting political power to the incompetent. This negative argument against democracy hopes to make epistocracy the preferable option in comparison. I will argue, however, that if we take this comparative approach then we ought to prefer democracy---or, rather, democratic reform---over epistocracy as the best solution in addressing the concerns which Brennan raises. It is not enough to merely point to flaws in democracy. For this argument to be successful, it must also be shown that epistocracy avoids those flaws at an acceptable cost. I claim that, upon examination, epistocratic theories fail to make this case. Rather, it is evident from this examination that there are various institutional mechanisms available with which democracy may manage the risks and harms which might arise from imbuing the incompetent with political power. This in turn suggests ways by which we might reform democracy to achieve similar results hoped for by epistocrats without the effort, risk, and cost of tearing down and rebuilding our fundamental political institutions.

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  • 2018