Jonathan Glover

Jonathan Glover author of Causing death and saving lives, is a lecturer in philosophy at New College, Oxford.

God loveth adverbs

Jonathan Glover, 22 November 1990

Moral philosophy has not much changed in method since Socrates. Reasons given in support of opinions on moral issues appeal to principles, often about happiness or justice. Opponents of the principles use counter-examples to evoke intuitions which go against them. Some of the principles appealed to in support of abortion also justify infanticide, and some principles used by opponents of abortion also rule out contraception. These more extreme consequences go against the intuitions of most people. Those who care about consistency must either override an intuition, or else abandon or qualify the principle they used to defend or oppose abortion.

Letting people die

Jonathan Glover, 4 March 1982

On 5 November last year, Dr Leonard Arthur was found not guilty of attempting to murder John Pearson, a baby with Down’s syndrome, who had died while under his care. Mrs Nuala Scarisbrick, the Hon. Administrator of LIFE, commented: ‘The verdict gives carte blanche to doctors to give treatment to patients who are unwanted or handicapped or both, that will result in their death. Now to be unwanted is to be guilty of a capital offence.’

Goya’s The Third of May, 1808. The scene is laid in darkness outside Madrid, where the city’s captured defenders face a firing-squad. Some already lie dead, boltered with pink gore;...

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An Identity of My Own

David Pears, 19 January 1989

The unity of my mind is something that I can appreciate when I use it, but it is hard to isolate and analyse. Without it, I could not have checked that sentence or added this one to it, and yet,...

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Genetic Supermarket

Paul Seabright, 3 May 1984

Positive genetic engineering – aimed not just at the elimination of identifiable genetic defects but at the promotion of physical, mental and emotional characteristics in our descendants by...

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