Vol. 117 No. 6

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RAWLS’ CONTRACTUALISM v. BENTHAM’S UTILITARIANISM Sam Fremantle
John Rawls’s 1971 book “A Theory of Justice” is widely regarded as having undermined the traditional predominance of utilitarianism in discourse on political justice. But this view is mistaken. Rawls’s doctrine of contractualism argues that a just society rests, not on benevolence or sympathy toward others (as does utilitarianism) but on the principle of reciprocity, according to which everyone benefits individually from universal compliance to social rules. However, contrary to Rawls’s view, the motive of reciprocity might lead to results similar to those of the motive of benevolence–thus vindicating utilitarianism. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

THE RIGHTS OF ATHEISTS AT THE UN Leo Igwe
The rights of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers should be expressly declared by the U.N. to be universal human rights.

THE ETHICS OF VOLUNTARY AMPUTATION Moheb Costandi
There is a psychological condition called BIID: a desire to have a perfectly healthy limb amputated, for all kinds of reasons. Because psychotherapy and drugs are ineffective in alleviating the condition, it would be better for medical authorities to agree to remove the limb, rather than allow the patient to injure himself through attempting self-amputation. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

VIEWPOINTS: Edmund McArthur, John Dowdle, Sue Mayer

POLITICS AND NEO-DARWINISM by Tom Rubens, review by Chris Purnell

“A PERVADING SPIRIT CO-ETERNAL WITH THE UNIVERSE”: 200 YEARS OF THE NECESSITY OF ATHEISM Graham Allen
A detailed and often eloquent exposition of Shelley’s ontological outlook. Shelley saw no philosophical justification for believing in the existence of deity. However, he did believe in “a pervading spirit co-eternal with the universe.” This spirit he variously described as “intellectual beauty,” “power” or “love.” The products of intellectual beauty were the greatest ideas which humanity can have of itself and of its place in the universe. These ideas were, for Shelley, permanent human and natural truths: what would eventually supersede religious/theistic doctrines as humanity’s enduring sources of sustenance and inspiration.

FILM PROGRAMME (LOOKING IN LOOKING OUT)

ETHICAL SOCIETY EVENTS

 

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