Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly


Vol. 32, No. 1, Spring

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Repatriation of Refugees
Beginning in 2005, hundreds of Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, entered Israel across the Egyptian border. They typically paid smugglers in Egypt to take them to the border, where they were able to climb over the border fence. By 2009 about...
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Proving Impoverishment: Child Mortality Rates and the Problem of Moral Recognition
Economic sanctions, imposed for political purposes or viewed as a middle route: they seem more substantial than "mere diplomacy," but they do not entail the risks of military intervention. Under this view, sanctions offer an attractive policy option....
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Objectivity and Subjectivity in Theories of Well-Being
In the philosophical literature as well as in discussions of public policy, happiness is sometimes identified with well-being. More often, however, happiness is seen as a long-term psychological state of fulfillment, and well-being (also sometimes...
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Civic Studies
You are a citizen of a group (regardless of your legal status) if you seriously ask: "What should we do?" The question is what we should do because the point is not merely to talk but to change the world. Thinking is intrinsically connected to action....
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Vol. 32, No. 2, Winter

Introduction: Normative and Conceptual Dimensions of the International Climate Negotiations
The human costs of climate change are now widespread and severe. Communities across the globe are facing adverse climate impacts--including food and water insecurity, increased prevalence of tropical diseases, and the loss of lives and livelihoods--that...
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Risk-Sharing: A Normative Framework for International Climate Negotiations
Climate change is expected to be costly to individuals, to communities, and to countries. In some places, the costs are likely to be greater than in others. This raises important questions about how to manage these costs. More specifically, it raises...
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The Problem with Consensus in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
When Russia, along with Ukraine and Belarus, shut down one track of negotiations at the intercessional conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last June, no one was pleased. "We need to act now, and we need...
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The Responsible Path between Scylla and Charybdis: Making Sense of Appeals to Equity in Climate Change Loss and Damage Mechanisms
In ancient Greek Mythology, Scylla was said to be a giant monster, Charybdis a whirlpool. Safely avoiding one meant getting too close to the other. As the story goes, the captain, Odysseus, must carefully choose between the monster that would certainly...
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Vol. 31, No. 3, Fall

On the Morality of Peacekeeping among Active Civilians
At least since the 1990s, the question of whether and how states and other international actors, such as the United Nations, may use military force to end atrocities, protect human rights, and restrain violence has been a frequent topic of policy,...
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Ending Global Poverty: Gain without Much Pain
Most people no doubt agree that living in dire poverty is a very bad thing, and so they are disturbed to learn that 1.3 billion people in the world do. What moral claims, if any, does this situation make on the world's comfortable people? It can be...
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Markets, Free Trade, and Religion
Harry Truman once complained that he wished he could find a "one handed economist" because his own economic advisers were always telling him "on the one hand" or "on the other hand." There is one issue, however, on which almost all economists, whatever...
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ELSI and the Philosophy of Science
In March, 2012, the genetic testing firm 23and Me announced a clinical study "to learn more about how genes influence a person's response to bevacizumab (also known as Avastin[R]) in the treatment of metastatic breast caner." To enroll in the study,...
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Vol. 31, No. 2, Summer

Well-Being as a Primary Good: Toward Legitimate Well-Being Policy
The use of well-being research in assessing and creating public policy is gaining popularity. The UK's Office of National Statistics has developed its National Well-being Index to do exactly that, and several other nations have followed suit. This...
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Well-Being and Prudential Value
When we talk about well-being we often also talk about what is "good for" a person. The fact that we use the term "good" suggests that there is a kind of value here. Philosophers tend to call this "prudential value" to distinguish it from value of...
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Happy Now? Well-Being and Cultural Policy
Although much of the debate in UK policy circles has been on the definition and measurement of well-being, there have been as yet relatively few attempts to apply a well-being lens to specific policy areas. One partial exception has been cultural policy....
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The Applicability of the Self-Fulfillment Account of Welfare to Nonhuman Animals, Babies, and Mentally Disabled Humans
The latest and arguably most promising philosophical account of welfare is Daniel Haybron's self-fulfillment account (Haybron 2008). Roughly, according to Haybron, welfare consists of three aspects: (1) emotional flourishing, (2) success in identity-related...
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On Capability and the Good Life: Theoretical Debates and Their Practical Implications
The capability approach was first developed by Amartya Sen in his Tanner Lecture "Equality of What?" (Sen 1980). Canonical statements of the approach were published in the 1980s (for example, Sen 1985). Slightly modified statements were subsequently...
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Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring

The Woman Who Fell in Love with the Man Who Thought the World Was Flat: Public Policy, Identity, and the Challenge of Reconceptualizing Domestic Violence in the Latino Community
Almost as Often as the Earth Turns The story I am about to tell should have taken place during medieval times, but instead, it takes place in the twenty-first century. Perhaps it could best be described as a Latino version of a tale about a knight-errant...
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Are Negatives Positive?
"Does the Election Make You Want to Be Sedated?" So read a late October headline. What was the irritant calling for sedation? The "caustic" attack ads the 2012 political season delivered in spades. With the presidential election still four weeks away,...
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Religion and the Public University
It seems almost commonplace now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, to bemoan the crisis facing public higher education in America. (1) Funding at the federal and state levels - sometimes in decline, sometimes on the rise - feels more...
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An Equity Hurdle in International Climate Negotiations
After a lengthy stalemate in the United Nations climate negotiations over creation of a comprehensive global climate treaty, active discussion of how to equitably distribute greenhouse gas reductions is now squarely back on the table. While one cannot...
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Vol. 30, No. 3-4, Summer-Fall

Targeting Civilian Infrastructure with Smart Bombs: The New Permissiveness
Setting out to kill people is not generally permitted. Neither is setting out to wound them, take them prisoner, or destroy their shelters and vehicles. But these and other normally prohibited displays of violence are permitted within what is usually...
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The Poverty of Economic Reasoning about Climate Change
A New Yorker cartoon illustrates the intergenerational aspect of climate change. It shows an Eskimo mother, father, and young child as they wave a tearful farewell to an old man, presumably a grandparent, whom they have placed on an ice floe. The family...
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Is "Human Being" a Moral Concept?
Is "human being" a moral concept? I believe it is, which makes me a speciesist. Speciesism violates a moral principle of equality. Peter Singer defines it as "a prejudice or attitude of bias toward the interests of members of one's own species and...
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The Philosophical Foundations of Civic Education
There is little that is morally "neutral" about civic education--the attempt to train young people to be good citizens and to engage in civic life. Adults who teach history, civics, or social studies, who guide adolescents in community-service projects,...
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Vol. 30, No. 1-2, Spring

A Different Way of Thinking about the Two-State Solution
In November of 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed what came to be called "The Partition Resolution" (UNGA Res. 181). The Partition Resolution sought to resolve the Zionist-Palestinian struggle by ending the British Mandate for Palestine,...
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The Conscience of a Prosecutor
A longer version of this essay was presented as the 2010 Tabor Lecture at the Valparaiso University School of Law. Two years ago, a startling story appeared in the New York Times: a veteran prosecutor in New York City's D.A.'s office, Daniel Bibb,...
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Google and the Cyber Infiltration
In mid-January of this year, Google threatened to pull its business out of China unless China lifted filters of its search engine results that resulted in censorship of so-called "sensitive content." At the end of March, having obtained no concession...
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Philosophers to the Rescue? the Failed Attempt to Defend the Inclusion of Intelligent Design in Public Schools
In recent years, a number of philosophers have authored books or articles defending the teaching of Intelligent Design (ID) in public schools. For the most part, these philosophers have avoided interjecting themselves into the scientific debates concerning...
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Vol. 29, No. 3-4, Summer-Fall

Constitutional Rights for Nonresident Aliens
What claim, if any, do nonresident aliens have on the U.S. for basic legal protections? Until recently, many argued that the answer was, essentially, none. Those aliens who live in territory controlled by the U.S. were long held to be entitled to some...
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The Harms of Homeschooling
Over the last thirty years, "homeschooling"--teaching one's children at home rather than entrusting their education to either a public or private school--has virtually exploded: around ten thousand children were homeschooled in the early eighties;...
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Insider Trading: A Moral Problem
Insider trading is a crime that can have sensational results. Its perpetrators risk finding themselves behind bars for many years and vilified in popular opinion, while their firms and the people heavily invested in them risk financial ruin. Even so,...
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What Is Charity?
The extent of global poverty, and of human suffering more generally, boggles the mind. And so the mind of a person not overburdened by poverty or pain can hardly fail to wonder: should I do something to better the situation of those suffering these...
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Regulatory Review and Cost-Benefit Analysis
In a Memorandum issued within a few days after he assumed office, President Barack Obama called for an overhaul of the policies the White House uses to review regulations proposed by federal departments and agencies. The president acknowledged the...
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Is There a Moral Obligation to Limit Family Size?
A colleague tells a story about a graduate student who was passionate about the environment. Upon learning that his brother was considering having a third child, the student threatened never to talk to the brother again if he did have the third child...
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Vol. 29, No. 1-2, Spring

Ethics and Poverty Tours
A new word has entered into travel discourse: "poorism." "Poorism" refers to organized tours that bring predominantly middle and upper class people to impoverished regions. Programs exist in Brazil (South America), Soweto (Africa), Mumbai (India),...
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"Mental Illness" and Justice as Recognition
My friend T was diagnosed with bipolar disorder over a decade ago, just in the midst of his medical residency. Since that time, he hasn't been able to complete his residency, though he's held a variety of different jobs, some of them making use of...
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Stigma and Openness
Most of us exchange information about ourselves, our families, and our friends with others all the time. We make casual conversation with seatmates on an airplane, chat with colleagues at the workplace, send holiday letters with a summary of our family...
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Vol. 28, No. 3-4, Summer-Fall

The Case for "Service"
On September 11, 2008, both major presidential candidates traveled to New York City, where some of the nation's most prominent corporations and foundations were sponsoring a forum on civilian community service. September 11 is a solemn day, rich...
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Palestinians' Right of Return and Israel's Right to Exist as a Jewish State
Do Palestinians who were displaced when the state of Israel was created in 1948 have a right to return to their former homes? A widely held Palestinian position is that the Israelis must recognize a right of return as a matter of principle, and...
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Crossing a Moral Line: Long-Term Preventive Detention in the War on Terror
For more than six years now, the U.S. has held hundreds of nonresident aliens who are suspected terrorists at its military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In addition, the U.S. holds thousands of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq, many of whom are...
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Performance-Enhancing Technologies and the Values of Athletic Competition
For decades, the American criminal justice system has been engaged in a "war on drugs" that critics say cannot be won. The enthusiasm for that war has been flagging for some time; a 1989 issue of the Quarterly (then called QQ) featured an article...
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Vol. 28, No. 1-2, Spring

About Altruism
There are two main things we want to know about altruistic behavior. First, does it exist? Second, if so, how can we produce more of it? The second question is practical. Although altruism does not guarantee desirable results--suicide bombers may...
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Pushing Drugs or Pushing the Envelope: The Prosecution of Doctors in Connection with Over-Prescribing of Opium-Based Drugs
Introduction On July 13, 2007, Dr. William Hurwitz was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for drug-trafficking. This result was portrayed by the press as a victory for the defendant as this conviction and sentence resulted from a retrial (his...
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Public Policy and Residential Segregation: A Critique of Iris Young's Strategy of Differentiated Solidarity
Introduction The recently suspended Democratic presidential campaign of US Senator John Edwards of North Carolina has refocused the public's attention on the issue of poverty and public policies to aid urban communities. Indeed, not since President...
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Enlightenment Thinking Could Bring Health Care for All Americans
Introduction Many health care groups are giddy about the prospect of real national health care reform, following the Democratic takeover of both Congressional chambers in January 2007. Taking this cue, the several presidential campaigns give priority...
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Vol. 27, No. 3-4, Summer-Fall

Environmentalism: Death and Resurrection
Introduction An editorial in The Economist magazine quipped that the modern environmental movement borrows its underlying narrative from Christian thought. "There is a Garden of Eden (unspoiled nature), a fall (economic development), the usual moral...
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The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the 21st Century
The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the 21st Century "The Deliberative Democracy Handbook is a terrific resource for democratic practitioners and theorists alike. It combines rich case material from...
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The Gospel According to Conservation Biology
Introduction The Society for Conservation Biology was founded in 1985 and its influential journal, Conservation Biology, was established soon thereafter in 1987. Subsequently, programs for the study of conservation biology were created at a number...
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Education Policy and the Limits of Technocracy
Introduction Technical expertise has obvious value. We are all better off because of the specialized knowledge possessed by physicians, engineers, economists, and others. Expertise, however, is such a fundamental organizing principle that we often...
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The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens: A Nonpartisan Clarion Call for Civic Renewal to Restore American Democracy
The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens A nonpartisan clarion call for civic renewal to restore American democracy We need young people to be civically engaged in order to define and address public problems....
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Teaching the Bible in the Public Schools: Reading the Bible as Literature
Introduction As witnessed by a recent Time magazine cover story on so-called "religious literacy," there is increased interest in teaching the Bible in public schools. In principle, this is Constitutionally permissible. Thus, in School District...
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Vol. 27, No. 1-2, Spring

Can Environmentalists Keep Two Ideas in Mind and Still Function?
A New Yorker cartoon depicts a pair of Puritans in stiff collars, doublets, and cloaks leaning over the rail of the Arbella as it made landfall in the New World. One says, "My immediate goal is to worship God and celebrate His Creation, but long-term,...
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Soldiers, Slaves and the Liberal State
Introduction John Locke famously argues in his Second Treatise of Government that the individual may not alienate his liberty, for it is not his to give away. Thus, on Locke's view, one may neither sell oneself for a slave, nor compact with others...
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Technology Transfer: What Can Philosophers Contribute?
Introduction "Globalization" is a contentious term that refers to integrated changes in culture, economics, the environment, politics, and technology. The term means many things to many people, and it is used to describe extreme and contradictory...
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Assisted Human Reproduction: Lessons of the Canadian Experience
Introduction The Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act, passed by the Canadian government on March 29, 2004 and effective from April 22, 2004, was passed after a long process of regulation of the complex field of assisted human reproduction (AHR)....
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