PHIL 102 – March 3 2014
Applied Ethics – Analogies in Ethics
Norms secure consistency in action
Reason to action (applied ethics)
How do we determine what norm applied to some facts?
• Derive it from a general moral theory (Utilitarianism/Kantian)
• Compare to clear cases via arguments by analogy (Peter Singer) – contemporary
• You’re obliged by logic to follow the conclusion
Abductive Argument (To the best explanation)
• More common in philosophy
• Begin with a clear case (A) – we have an action/situation with certain features.
• There is a moral feature (Q) related to it (A)
• Controversial case is analogous to the clear case (A)
• So B has the moral feature (Q)
1. Clear case A and B share the same features P1… Pi
2. P1… Pi are morally relevant features
3. A has moral feature Q
4. Therefore, B has moral feature Q
A is a clear case
P1… Pi have to be relevant for Q there must be no relevant difference!
• 2 ways:
o Question the clear case
o Question the analogy PHIL 102 – March 3 2014
• Haven’t identified all the differences, by leaving it out you fail to make a strong
o Must have the same features for it to be a strong analogy.
• The challenge is to get all the relevant facts about the controversial case
MARTHA NUSSBAUM - Prostitution
• Very logical and uses facts – Aristotelian
• University of Chicago
• Ancient Greek Philosophy (before) – Aristotle (points to the ground)
• “Love’s Knowledge” – novel gives you richly textured details of lives thus gaining
Commercial Recreational Sex
• In reality, nowadays, most places the sex trade is associated with many harms
a. Child prostitution
b. Abduction, slavery, autonomy, violent coercion, drug addiction, emotional
c. Duress: a last resort – many sex trade workers have no better alternative
i. Joseph Raz’s “hounded woman”: her actions are not free in all
1. Imagine yourself stranded on a desert island, not great to be
far from civilization, but it’s ok
2. There is a lion – it hounds you. You can choose where to run
away etc. but it is constantly hounding you.
3. In one sense you are free, but there is little choice you have.
Not really free.
ii. Many sex trade workers – it’s similar to that situation.
iii. They are not exercising free choice; they are stuck in a certain
iv. But there is some autonomy there – she chose to be there?
• None of these is a necessary consequence of “commercial recreational sex” PHIL 102 – March 3 2014
• Policy: what can we do to prevent/minimize these harms?
o Does the Criminal Code do anything to remedy (C - duress)
It is illegal to:
• “Keeping a bawdy house” – whore house
• “Communicating in public” – finding people who wants the
services in public
• “Living on the avails” – generating an income on the activity
• But not sex for money
AG v. Bedfrod Lebovitch, and Scott (Dec 2013): “Parliament has the
power to regulate agai