Anderson, Elizabeth, and . Value in Ethics and Economics

1993, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Summary: Elizabeth Anderson offers a new theory of value and rationality that rejects cost-benefit analysis in our social lives and in our ethical theories. This account of the plurality of values thus offers a new approach, beyond welfare economics and traditional theories of justice, for assessing the ethical limitations of the market. In this light, Anderson discusses several contemporary controversies involving the proper scope of the market, including commercial surrogate motherhood, privatization of public services, and the application of cost-benefit analysis to issues of environmental protection.

Comment: This book as a whole would be an excellent addition to an upper level course on morals and markets. The last three chapters (7-9) cover a number of applied issues in economics and ethics. Chapter 8, "Is Women's Labor a Commodity" would be an especially good addition to a course on business ethics or biomedical ethics that discusses paid surrogacy.

Dalmiya, Vrinda, and . Why should a knower care?

2002, Hypatia 17(1): 34--52.

Abstract: This paper argues that the concept of care is significant not only for ethics, but for epistemology as well. After elucidating caring as a five-step dyadic relation, I go on to show its epistemic significance within the general framework of virtue epistemology as developed by Ernest Sosa, Alvin Goldman, and Linda Zagzebski. The notions of “care-knowing” and “care-based epistemology” emerge from construing caring (respectively) as a reliabilist and responsibilist virtue.

Comment: This text is best used in epistemology classes when discussing virtue reliablist and responsibilist approaches, and epistemic success in general. It will also be useful in philosophy of science classes: Dalmiya argues for radical changes in our approach to scientific research, including a redefinition of the epistemic and moral constraints which guide it.

Pineau, Lois, and . Date Rape: A Feminist Analysis

1989, Law and Philosophy 8 (2): 217-243.

Abstract: This paper shows how the mythology surrounding rape enters into a criterion of reasonableness which operates through the legal system to make women vulnerable to unscrupulous victimization. It explores the possibility for changes in legal procedures and presumptions that would better serve women’s interests and leave them less vulnerable to sexual violence. This requires that we reformulate the criterion of consent in terms of what is reasonable from a woman’s point of view.

Comment: This text provides an overview of the the legal status of "date rape" in the US. It would fit well in a class covering the idea of mens rea and/or actus reus - such as a class on philosophy of law. It would also be of use in a class covering the concept of consent, rape and sexual violence, or the meaning of being 'reasonable.'

Purdy, Laura, and . Are Pregnant Women Fetal Containers?

1990, Bioethics 4(4): 273–291.

Content: Purdy offers a strong argument against overriding the decisions of pregnant women and tries to reconcile the significance of the dependence of the fetus on the mother with the mother’s right to control her own body.

Comment: Very useful as introductory or further reading on reproductive rights and/or abortion.

Ruether, Rosemary R., and . Symbolic and Social Connections of the Oppression of Women and the Domination of Nature

1999, in Adams, C. J. (eds), Ecofeminism and the sacred, New York: Continuum.

Comment: This text offers an introduction to ecofeminism. It discusses the history of associating maleness with culture and femaleness with nature and identifies some of the issues which led to the current ecological crisis. The text has the potential to challenge received views and inspire a lively discussion, and as such it is best used as an introductory text in classes on environmental ethics and on feminist ethics.


Satz, Debra, and . Markets in Women’s Sexual Labor

1995, Ethics 106(1): 63-85.

Summary: This paper argues that prostitution and other markets in women’s sexual labor are not necessarily morally wrong. Satz argues that such markets are morally wrong to the extent that they reinforce the vast social inequalities between men and women. Satz discusses a number of approaches to understanding the wrongness of markets in women’s sexual labor, including an economic approach, an essentialist approach, and an egalitarian approach. Ultimately, she critiques the economic and essentialist approach as insufficient, favoring the egalitarian approach. Lastly, Satz discusses the question of decriminalization, arguing in favor of legislation concerning markets in women’s sexual labor only to the extent that those laws promote gender equality.

Comment: This text serves as an excellent introdution to debates concerning the morality of prostitution. It presents an overview of a number of tactics used to understand the wrongness of prostituion and provides an introduction to the legislative considerations of markets in women's sexual labor.

Seavilleklein, Victoria, and . Challenging the Rhetoric of Choice in Prenatal Screening

2009, Bioethics 23(1): 68-77.

Abstract: Prenatal screening, consisting of maternal serum screening and nuchal translucency screening, is on the verge of expansion, both by being offered to more pregnant women and by screening for more conditions. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have each recently recommended that screening be extended to all pregnant women regardless of age, disease history, or risk status. This screening is commonly justified by appeal to the value of autonomy, or women’s choice. In this paper, I critically examine the value of autonomy in the context of prenatal screening to determine whether it justifies the routine offer of screening and the expansion of screening services. I argue that in the vast majority of cases the option of prenatal screening does not promote or protect women’s autonomy. Both a narrow conception of choice as informed consent and a broad conception of choice as relational reveal difficulties in achieving adequate standards of free informed choice. While there are reasons to worry that women’s autonomy is not being protected or promoted within the limited scope of current practice, we should hesitate before normalizing it as part of standard prenatal care for all.

Comment: The text introduces the notion of relational autonomy and argues that an increase in pre-natal screening can in fact act so as to restrict the autonomy of pregnant women. It is best used in teaching applied ethics modules on procreation and autonomy, and as a further reading offering a critique of approaches which do not take into account contextual features of particular situations in their moral assessment.