Dimensions of Dignity: The Moral Importance of Being Human
Egonsson (Dan)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Author’s Introduction

  1. One idea has been almost universally embraced among people in the West, namely that there is something special about being human. This idea is rather vague and that is partly due, I believe, to the fact that it has been taken for granted for a very long time and not been much reflected upon until rather recently.
  2. For example, it is not clear whether the thought is
    1. that being a human being is important in itself, or
    2. it is important to be like a human being, that is, to have the capacities which a normal grown-up human being has.
  3. It is also possible to claim that both things are important; if two beings have exactly the same mental and physical capacities, it will make a difference to hear that one of the beings is a human one and the other not, and analogously if we have two human beings it may in some situations make a difference to hear that one is a normal adult and the other chronically unconscious.
  4. However, making distinctions within the class of human beings in this way is not normally considered morally correct.
  5. […]
  6. Earlier I pointed out that the Western tradition concerning the value of being human contains two ideas.
    1. First, that human beings are more valuable than animals.
    2. Second, that all human beings are equally valuable.
    This study will be particularly about the first of these ideas. The second one will only receive a very brief treatment.
  7. Furthermore, the major part of the study will concentrate on the importance of being (a living) human per se, although towards the end I will also discuss and criticize two attempts to show that being (a living) human is a morally significant property only because of what normally is connected with this property. So whereas Part II discusses question (i) - see the opening of this chapter - Part III deals with question (ii).

Contents
  1. PROBLEM AND METHOD
    1. INTRODUCTION – 3
    2. METHODOLOGICAL BACKGROUND – 8
      → 2.1 Simplicity
      → 2.2 Consistency
      → 2.3 The Species Concept
      → 2.4 Universalizability and Utilitarianism
      → 2.5 Intuitions
      → 2.6 Problems of Intuitionism
      → 2.7 Basic and Derived Moral Principles
  2. DIRECT IMPORTANCE
    1. A "STANDARD ATTITUDE" (SA) – 33
      → 3.1 The Standard Attitude – 33
      → 3.2 Is it Important per se to Belong to a Certain Biological Species? – 36
      → 3.3 William E. May's Position – 39
      → 3.4 Humanity as a Gift – 40
      → 3.5 A Religious Foundation of Human Dignity – 42
      → 3.6 When Does a Human Being Get a Soul? – 45
      → 3.7 Concluding Remarks – 47
    2. THE DIRECT VALUE OF BEING HUMAN – 49
      → 4.1 Objectivism and Subjectivism – 51
      → 4.2 "Valued by" as an Active Process and "Valuable for" – 52
      → 4.3 Valuing as a Disposition – 52
      → 4.4 Sophisticated and Primitive Wanting – 54
      → 4.5 The Intrinsic Value of Being Non-Human – 57
      → 4.6 Two Assumptions – 59
      → 4.7 On the Existence of the Wanter – 60
      → 4.8 Dworkin on External Preferences – 62
      → 4.9 Is Double Counting Morally Objectionable? – 64
      → 4.10 Hare on External Preferences – 67
      → 4.11 An Argument Against Counting Past Preferences – 70
    3. SA EXAMINED – 73
      → 5.1 Is the Denial of SA Serious? – 74
      → 5.2 A Third Aspect of a Moral Intuition – 76
      → 5.3 Taking into Account People's Moral Attitudes – 80
      → 5.4 A Brief Summary – 83
      → 5.5 The Rationality of Attitudes – 84
      → 5.6 Irrational Preferences in Preference Utilitarianism – 85
      → 5.7 A Serious Objection – 86
      → 5.8 Conclusion – 89
    4. ELEMENTS IN THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF SA – 91
      → 6.1 Objectivity – 91
      → 6.2 Objective Values and Utilitarianism – 93
      → 6.3 Inviolability – 94
      → 6.4 Irreplaceability – 97
      → 6.5 Dignity – 100
      → 6.6 Equality – 101
    5. TOOLEY'S ARGUMENTS AGAINST SA – 104
      → 7.1 Tooley's First Counter-Argument – 106
      → 7.2 Tooley's Second Counter-Argument – 109
      → 7.3 Tooley's Third Counter-Argument – 111
      → 7.4 The Intuitive Importance of Biological Ties – 114
      → 7.5 Are Biological Ties Important in Tooley's Third Counter-Argument? – 116
      → 7.6 Seeing As – 118
      → 7.7 Half-Believing and Vividness – 121
      → 7.8 Summing up this Chapter – 124
    6. EXAMPLES SUPPORTING SA – 127
      → 8.1 Warnock's Example – 128
      → 8.2 Warnock's First Claim – 129
      → 8.3 Absolute Principles – 131
      → 8.4 Does Warnock's Example Really Support SA – 133
      → 8.5 Two Cases – 134
      → 8.6 Warnock's Second Claim – 138
      → 8.7 The Moral Status of Newly Fertilized Eggs – 139
      → 8.8 Summary So Far Plus Some More Examples – 142
      → 8.9 "The Compromise View" – 145
      → 8.10 "The Additive Assumption" – 153
      → 8.11 Summary, Conclusion and Further Reflections – 157
      → → 8.11.1 SA and Agent-Relativity – 159
      → → 8.11.2 Objections – 161
    7. CRITIQUE OF ARGUMENTS FOR SA – 166
      → 9.1 Gaylin's List – 168
      → → 9.1.1 Conceptual Thought – 169
      → → 9.1.2 Capacity for Technology – 171
      → → 9.1.3 The Range of Human Emotions – 172
      → → 9.1.4 Lamarckian Genetics – 174
      → → 9.1.5 Autonomy – 175
      → 9.2 Blumenfeld's Moral Collectivism – 176
      → → 9.2.1 Species versus Other Biological Classes – 178
      → → 9.2.2 A Counterpart of Blumenfeld's Principle – 180
      → → 9.2.3 Positive and Negative Moral Collectivism – 181
      → → 9.2.4 An Argument from Genetic Changes – 183
      → 9.3 Nozick's Defence of Speciesism – 184
      → → 9.3.1 Nozick's First Suggestion – 185
      → → 9.3.2 Nozick's Second Suggestion – 188
      → 9.4 A Short Summary of the Chapter – 189
  3. INDIRECT IMPORTANCE
    1. PETER CARRUTHERS' CONTRACTUALISM – 196
      → 10.1 Two Demands – 197
      → 10.2 Utilitarianism and Intuitions – 198
      → 10.3 Contractualism – 200
      → 10.4 Practical Implications – 203
      → → 10.4.1 A Slippery-Slope Argument – 206
      → → 10.4.2 Social Stability – 209
      → 10.5 Contractualism and Character – 211
      → 10.6 Cruelty and Culture – 214
      → 10.7 Conclusion – 217
    2. PETER SINGER ON KILLING PERSONS AND NON-PERSONS – 219
      → 11.1 The Direct wrongness of Killing – 220
      → 11.2 Positive Frustration – 223
      → 11.3 Comparing the Quality of Different Lives
      → 11.4 Irreplaceability
      → 11.5 Singer's Argument for Irreplaceability
      → 11.6 Life as a Journey
      → 11.7 Does the Total View Apply to Persons?
      → 11.8 Conclusion

    Summary and Conclusions
    References
    Index

BOOK COMMENT:
  • Springer Science + Business Media, 1998
  • Downloaded during Springer promotion, Dec. 2015



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