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Battaly, Heather, , . Developing virtue and rehabilitating vice:Worries about self-cultivation and self-reform
2016, Journal of Moral Education, 45(2): 207-222.
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Added by: Rie Iizuka, Contributed by:

Abstract: Aristotelian virtue theorists have emphasized the role of the self in developing virtue and in rehabilitating vice. But this article argues that, as Aristotelians, we have placed too much emphasis on self-cultivation and self-reform. Self-cultivation is not required for developing virtue or vice. Nor will sophia-inspired self-reform jumpstart change in the vicious person. In each case, the external environment has an important role to play. One can unwittingly acquire virtues or vices from one’s environment. Likewise, a well-designed environment may be the key ingredient for jumpstarting change in the vicious person. Self-cultivation and late-stage self-reform are not ruled out, but the role of the self in character development and rehabilitation is not as exalted as we might have thought.

Comment: This is an interesting article offering a new view on promoting virtue and avoiding vice. Battaly believes that self-cultivation is not a necessary component of virtue. While her view is against most of virtue theories offered in the past, it is well founded and likely to provoke controversy in class.

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Begon, Jessica, , . Paternalism
2016, Analysis 76(3): 355-373.
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Summary: Analysis review article of recent work on the topic of paternalism. Discusses different ways in which the term is defined, reviews the debate between ‘paternalists’ and ‘anti-paternalists’, and presents soft paternalism.

Comment: Could be used as an introductory reading to the topic of paternalism, or a further reading to provide a comprehensive background to recent work in the area.

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Bicchieri, Cristina, , . Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure and Change Social Norms
2016, New York: Oxford University Press
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Publisher’s Note: Norms in the Wild takes a unique look at social norms, answering questions about diagnosis (how can we tell that a shared practice is a social norm?), measurement (how do we measure expectations and preferences?), and change (which tools can we adopt to effect norm change?). The theories developed in the book are brought to life by examining real-life cases of norm creation and abandonment, the rationale behind policy interventions, and how change can be spearheaded by various types of trendsetters, be they individuals, groups, or the media. By exploring how a range of problems, from poor sanitation to child marriage, can be addressed, the book shows how social norms can have a causal impact on collective behavior, and which interventions may succeed in creating new norms or abandoning harmful ones. In laying the theoretical groundwork for implementing social changes in a contextually sensitive and empirically based way, it also diagnoses why some less culturally attuned attempts to eliminate negative practices have failed.

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Bok, Sissela, , . Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life
1978, Vintage Books.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: A thoughtful addition to the growing debate over public and private morality. Looks at lying and deception in law, family, medicine, government.

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Bok, Sissela, , . The Limits of Confidentiality
1983, Hastings Center Report 13 (1):24-31.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Introduction: Doctors, lawyers, and priests have traditionally recog nized the duty of professional secrecy regarding what individuals confide to them: personal matters such as alcoholism or depression, marital difficulties, corporate or political problems, and indeed most concerns that patients or clients want to share with someone, yet keep from all others.’ Accountants, bankers, social workers, and growing numbers of professionals now invoke a similar duty to guard confidences. As codes of ethics take form in old and new professions, the duty of confidentiality serves in part to reinforce their claim to professional status, and in part to strengthen their capacity to offer help to clients.

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Bok, Sissela, , . Whistleblowing and Professional Responsibility
1980, New York University Education Quarterly, 11(4): 2-10.
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Abstract: Individuals who would blow the whistle by making public disclosure of impropriety in their own organizations face choices of public v private good. These dilemmas, along with institutional and professional standards that might ease the way of whistleblowers, are explored.

Comment: This is a great piece to pair with popular media covering recent acts of whistleblowing (e.g., by Ed Snowden or Susan Fowler), getting students to analyze real world acts of whistleblowing through the framework Bok sets out. The piece doesn't require any significant background in moral theory, and is sure to spark great discussion, particularly if students are provided with real life examples of whistleblowing that they can consider in conjunction with Bok's discussion.

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Bordo, Susan, , . Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of Culture
1993, In her Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Diversifying Syllabi: Bordo claims that the recent increase in women with Anorexia is a symptom of the “central ills” of our culture. Bordo discusses three sources of this “cultural illness” which leads to anorexia: the dualist axis, the control axis, and the gender/power axis. She spends the bulk of the paper discussing each “axis” or problematic component of society which is reflected back to us in the increasing diagnosis of anorexia. These “psychopathogolgies” are expressions of the culture, she claims.

Comment: This text is most readily applicable in teaching feminist theory and social philosophy. However, it is also very useful in at least three other contexts: (1) as a critical approach to mind-body dualism, especially when teaching on Descartes or Plato's Phaedo; (2) in teaching on the ethics of mental illness and the anti-psychiatry movement, as an example of socially constructed disorders; and (3) more broadly in teaching on personal and collective moral responsibility.

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Bortolotti, Lisa, , John Harris. Disability, Enhancement, and the Harm-Benefit Continuum
2006, In John R. Spencer & Antje Du Bois-Pedain (eds.), Freedom and Responsibility in Reproductive Choice. Hart Publishers.
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Abstract: Suppose that you are soon to be a parent and you learn that there are some simple measures that you can take to make sure that your child will be healthy. In particular, suppose that by following the doctor’s advice, you can prevent your child from having a disability, you can make your child immune from a number of dangerous diseases and you can even enhance its future intelligence. All that is required for this to happen is that you (or your partner) comply with lifestyle and dietary requirements. Do you and your partner have any moral reasons (or moral obligations) to follow the doctor’s advice? Would it make a difference if, instead of following some simple dietary requirements, you consented to genetic engineering to make sure that your child was free from disabilities, healthy and with above average intelligence? In this paper we develop a framework for dealing with these questions and we suggest some directions the answers might take.

Comment: This paper is an especially good inclusion in any bioethics course that has units on both disability and enhancement, covering issues at the intersection of these topics - indeed, it could be used quite effectively as a "transition paper", bridging a unit on the former topic with a unit on the latter. The piece pairs particularly well with Michael Sandel's, "The Case Against Perfection", and should be suitably accessible to all students, requiring very little philosophical background.

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Bortolotti, Lisa, , Daniela Cutas. Reproductive and Parental Autonomy: An Argument for Compulsory Education
2009, Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 19 (Ethics Supplement): 5-14.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper we argue that society should make available reliable information about parenting to everybody from an early age. The reason why parental education is important (when offered in a comprehensive and systematic way) is that it can help young people understand better the responsibilities associated with reproduction, and the skills required for parenting. This would allow them to make more informed life-choices about reproduction and parenting, and exercise their autonomy with respect to these choices. We do not believe that parental education would constitute a limitation of individual freedom. Rather, the acquisition of relevant information about reproduction and parenting and the acquisition of self-knowledge with respect to reproductive and parenting choices can help give shape to individual life plans. We make a case for compulsory parental education on the basis of the need to respect and enhance individual reproductive and parental autonomy within a culture that presents contradictory attitudes towards reproduction and where decisions about whether to become a parent are subject to significant pressure and scrutiny.

Comment: This text provides a clear overview of debates about reproductive autonomy and compulsory education. It also contains responses to well known criticisms of compulsory parental education. It would be best used in a course dealing with issues of parenthood and procreation, reproduction, or autonomy in a medical context.

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Brazier, Margaret Rosetta, , . Exploitation and enrichment: The paradox of medical experimentation
2008, Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (3):180--183.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Modern medicine is built on a long history of medical experimentation. Experiments in the past often exploited more vulnerable patients. Questionable ethics litter the history of medicine. Without such experiments, however, millions of lives would be forfeited. This paper asks whether all the “unethical” experiments of the past were unjustifiable, and do we still exploit the poorer members of the community today? It concludes by wondering if Harris is right in his advocacy of a moral duty to participate in medical research.

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Brock, Gillian, , . Contemporary Cosmopolitanism: Some Current Issues
2013, Philosophy Compass, 8 (8): 689-698.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this article, we survey some current debates among cosmopolitans and their critics. We begin by surveying some distinctions typically drawn among kinds of cosmopolitanisms, before canvassing some of the diverse varieties of cosmopolitan justice, exploring positions on the content of cosmopolitan duties of justice, and a prominent debate between cosmopolitans and defenders of statist accounts of global justice. We then explore some common concerns about cosmopolitanism – such as whether cosmopolitan commitments are necessarily in tension with other affiliations people typically have and how we should deal with issues concerning a perceived lack of authority in the global domain – and whether these can be addressed. We also look briefly at how the concern with feasibility has led some to take up the challenge of devising public policy that is cosmopolitan in outlook, before offering some concluding remarks on future directions in these debates.

Comment: This text is a clear and concise introduction to the contemporary state of debates concerning global justice. It would make an excellent addition to an introductory course in political philosophy, justice, or global ethics.

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Brock, Gillian, , . Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account
2009, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Publisher: Gillian Brock develops a viable cosmopolitan model of global justice that takes seriously the equal moral worth of persons, yet leaves scope for defensible forms of nationalism and for other legitimate identifications and affiliations people have. Brock addresses two prominent kinds of skeptic about global justice: those who doubt its feasibility and those who believe that cosmopolitanism interferes illegitimately with the defensible scope of nationalism by undermining goods of national importance, such as authentic democracy or national self-determination. The model addresses concerns about implementation in the world, showing how we can move from theory to public policy that makes progress toward global justice. It also makes clear how legitimate forms of nationalism are compatible with commitments to global justice. Global Justice is divided into three central parts. In the first, Brock defends a cosmopolitan model of global justice. In the second, which is largely concerned with public policy issues, she argues that there is much we can and should do toward achieving global justice. She addresses several pressing problems, discussing both theoretical and public policy issues involved with each. These include tackling global poverty, taxation reform, protection of basic liberties, humanitarian intervention, immigration, and problems associated with global economic arrangements. In the third part, she shows how the discussion of public policy issues can usefully inform our theorizing; in particular, it assists our thinking about the place of nationalism and equality in an account of global justice.

Comment: This text is a comprehensive set of arguments concerning global economic justice, with application to areas such as taxation, immigration, and military-humanitarian intervention. It responds to a wide variety of literature, but takes as its starting point Rawls' Law of Peoples. Individuals chapters could be taught in a lower-level undergraduate class, while entire sections could be taught in an upper-division undergraduate class.

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Bullock, Emma, , . A Normatively Neutral Definition of Paternalism
2015, Philosophical Quarterly 65(258): 1-21.
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Abstract: In this paper, I argue that a definition of paternalism must meet certain methodological constraints. Given the failings of descriptivist and normatively charged definitions of paternalism, I argue that we have good reason to pursue a normatively neutral definition. Archard’s 1990 definition is one such account. It is for this reason that I return to Archard’s account with a critical eye. I argue that Archard’s account is extensionally inadequate, failing to capture some cases which are clear instances of paternalism. I refine each of his three conditions, ultimately providing an improved definition of paternalistic interference. This revised definition meets specific methodological constraints, offering a definition that is both neutral between anti- and pro-paternalistic intuitions, but that also explains why paternalism is normatively significant. Specifically, this definition captures the conflict between interfering with an individual’s choices and treating the individual benevolently, without making paternalism permissible or impermissible by definition.

Comment: This paper updates Archard's attempt to provide a normatively neutral account of paternalism, and would be a good further reading for any topic touching on paternalism.

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Carrie Figdor, , . The Psychological Speciesism of Humanism
2020, Philosophical Studies [forthcoming]
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Carrie Figdor

Abstract: Humanists argue for assigning the highest moral status to all humans over any non-humans directly or indirectly on the basis of uniquely superior human cognitive abilities. They may also claim that humanism is the strongest position from which to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of within-species discrimination. I argue that changing conceptual foundations in comparative research and discoveries of advanced cognition in many non-human species reveal humanism’s psychological speciesism and its similarity with common justifications of within-species discrimination.

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Cassidy, Lisa, , . Starving Children in Africa: Who Cares?
2005, Journal of International Women's Studies 7 (1): 84-96.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Abstract: The current state of global poverty presents citizens in the Global North with a moral crisis: Do we care? In this essay, I examine two competing moral accounts of why those in the North should or should not give care (in the form of charity) to impoverished peoples in the Global South. Nineteen years ago feminist philosopher Nel Noddings wrote in Caring that ‘we are not obliged to care for starving children in Africa’ (1986, p. 86). Noddings’s work belongs to the arena of care ethics – the feminist philosophical view that morality is about responding to, caring for, and preventing harm to those particular people to whom one has emotional attachments. By contrast, Peter Singer’s recent work, One World, advances an impartialist view of morality, which demands that we dispassionately dispense aid to the most needy (2002, p.154). Thus this question needs answering: am I obliged to give care to desperately poor strangers, and if so, which moral framework (Singer’s impartialism, or feminism’s care ethics) gives the best account of that obligation? I argue that as an American feminist I should care for Africans with whom I will never have a personal relationship. However, this obligation can be generated without relying on the impartialist understanding of morality.

Comment: This text responds to Peter Singer and Ned Noddings on the question of global poverty (though, one need not have read either previously as she provides an overview). It would be useful in a course that focused on questions of economic justice, poverty, care ethics, or charity.

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