Ethical Principles for Social Policy
edited by John Howie
Southern Illinois University Press, 1983
eISBN: 978-0-8093-8020-6 | Cloth: 978-0-8093-1063-0
Library of Congress Classification HN59.2.E35 1983
Dewey Decimal Classification 303.372


Abortion, euthanasia, racism, sexism, pater­nalism, the rights of children, the population explosion, and the dynamics of economic growth are examined in the light of ethical principles by leading philosophers in order to suggest reasonable judgments.

Originally prepared for the distinguished Wayne Leys Memorial Lecture Series at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, the essayists have addressed themselves to the most pressing ethical questions being asked today. William K. Frankena, Professor Emer­itus, University of Michigan, in “The Ethics of Respect for Life” argues for a qualified view of moral respect for human personality. From his viewpoint it is always prima facie wrong to shorten or prevent human life, but not always actually wrong as other moral conditions may counter the presumed wrong. The late William T. Blackstone in “Zero Population Growth and Zero Economic Growth” contends that justice will require the production of the maximal level of goods to fulfill basic human needs com­patible with the avoidance of ecological catastrophe.

Richard Wasserstrom, Professor of Phi­losophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, proposes an assimilationist ideal in “Racism, Sexism, and Preferential Treat­ment.” Gerald Dworkin, Professor of Phi­losophy at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle, dares to ask “Is More Choice Better than Less?” Joel Feinberg, Professor of Phi­losophy at the University of Arizona, in “The Child’s Right to an Open Future,” offers a defense of “rights-in-trust” of children. Tom L. Beauchamp, Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy In­stitute-Center for Bioethics of Georgetown University, considers the paternalism used to justify social policies in the practice of medi­cine and insists that it invariably involves a conflict between the ethical principles of be­neficence and autonomy.

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