Key Concepts for (Some) Articles
in J. Boss's Analyzing Moral Issues

by Dr. Jan Garrett

This page was last revised November 14, 2006.

The page numbers refer to the third edition of Boss's book. I will modify them if I have time.--J.G. (3/15/08)

Chapter on Abortion

Introduction to Chapter

stages of fetal development (83-84), proposed criteria for moral standing (or personhood, depending on the author): biological humanity (85), socially responsive membership in the human community (85), sentience (85), viability (86), having a future it can value (87), conflicts of rights (fetus, mother, father) (87-88)


Person (91-92), conception, right to life, extreme view of the right to life (93),
right to decide what happens to and in one's body,
Right to X [a thing] (95), Right against P [a person] (95), kindness [to a person] (95),
right to be given the use of (or allowed the continued use of) another's body (95),
duty or obligation [to a person], duty to refrain, requirement to sacrifice (99),
three kinds of "Samaritan" (Minimally Decent, Good, and Very Good) (98-99).

The difference between "Q [person] ought to allow P [person] to have X [object]" and "P has a right to X against Q"


Proposed criteria for humanity: ensoulment, human potentiality, viability, experience (sentience), effects on (by valued by) adults (103). social visibility (104.1), nonarbitrary line (105.1)

Chapter on Cloning


embryo splittling (135)


medical genetic engineering (148.1), cosmetic genetic engineering (148.1)

Chapter on Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, etc.

Introduction to Chapter

See also End of Life Distinctions. Values invoked in debate: sanctity of life (189), autonomy and self-determination (189), principle of nonmaleficence, princ. of mercy (190), death with dignity (190-91), quality of life (190), ordinary v. extraordinary treatment (191), physician's role (192), justice and equality (192); burden to society (193), slippery slope (193).


mercy, principle of (200.1), passive euthanasia (201.1), active euthanasia (201.1), principle of [patient] autonomy (202.2-203.1), limited paternalism (203.2), extended ("hard") paternalism (203.2), argument from justice for active euthanasia (205.1), slipopery slope objection (205.1-2)


rights and universal principles perspective (221.1), care and relationships paerspective (221.1), equation of goodness with self-sacrifice (222.1), importance of context (224.1), patient as isolated monad (224.1), patient agency and physician agency (224.2-225.1), interweaving of perspectives (225)

Sexual Morality

Capital Punishment


punishment, retributive justice, retribution, reparation, retributivism, equality retributivism, proportional retributivism, deterrence, reform rationale for punishment, incapacitation, restitution approach to crime, therapeutic approach

Introduction to chapter

deterrence (241), incapacitation (243)


punishment (254), justice (255.1), (256.2), benevolence (255.1), moral object (256.1), direct moral object (256.1), indirect moral object (256.1), moral subject (256.1), moral standing (256.1), cruelty (258.2)


instrumental view of human life (261.2), forfeiture of rights (262.1), social defense argument for death penalty (262), dignity argument for death penalty (263.2), principle of retribution (264.1), lex talionis (269.2), argument from justice against death penalty (270-71), argument from dignity against death penalty

Chapter on Pornography and Free Speech

Chapter on Drugs

General and Introduction to Chapter

See Liberty-Limiting Principles. drug (297), drug abuse (297), addiction (297)--but see also Addictive Qualities of Popular Drugs, disease model of addiction (304), moral model of addiction (305), principles used to argue on this topic (306-9): virtue ethics, human dignity, autonomy, liberty rights, hedonism, paternalism, nonmaleficence and preventing harm to others


drug (328.2), recreational use (of drugs) (329.1), non-recreational uses of drugs (329.2), presumption of freedom (330.2) paternalist rationale for laws against drugs (330.2-331.1), legal moralism (331.1)

Racism, etc.


racist stereotypes about . . . Others (552.1); colonialist care discourse (552.1); paternalistic ends (552.1); "moral benefits" (of being colonized) (552.1); economic motivations (of colonialism) (552.1); "white man's burden" (552.2); uniqueness of colonial care discourse (552.2) the liberal story, the familiar part of (552.2-552.1); paternalist protective project (553.2); contested terrain (553.2)

Animal Rights and Environment

Chapter Introduction

moral standing (716), moral agents (716), moral patients (716), sentience (716), social contract view of moral standing of animals (716), hedonistic utilitarians and animal interests (717), (non-utilitarian) animal rights view (719), animal welfarism (719), speciesism (718)

Singer, Animal Liberation

speciesism (732.1), principle of equality (731.2 last sentence), capacity for suffering (roughly = sentience) (732.2), having interests (732.2) researcher's central dilemma (736.2)

Regan, Moral Basis of Vegetarianism

consciousness, language test for (721.1-2); noninjury, principle of (721.2); nonmaleficence, principle of (721.2); intensive (animal-) rearing methods (723,1); sentience (724.1); being that can have rights (rights-bearer) (722.2); being against which another being can have a right (=addressee of a right) (722.2); rights-bearer, capacity to claim rights as test for being one (722.2).

Cohen, Do Animals Have Rights?

rights (740); interest (741, elsewhere); correlativity of rights and obligations (743); moral patient (744); moral agent (744.2); two senses of autonomy (745), esp. moral autonomy; actus reus and mens rea (745.2); inherent value, two senses of (747); community of moral beings (i.e., moral agents), fallacy of equivocation (747)

Devall-Sessions, Deep Ecology

deep ecology (754,756), self-realization (755.1), biocentric equality (755), dominant worldview (regarding humans' relation to nature) (756)

Watson, A Critique of Anti-Anthropocentric Ethics (NOT IN 4TH EDITION OF BOSS)

anthropocentic (anthropocentrism) (760), biocentrism (760), preservation principle (760), hands off nature approach (760), regeneration of species from primordial soup (763), movement toward entropy (763)


Eyal Press, In Torture We Trust (NOT IN BOSS)

torture, absolute prohibition, ticking bomb [case], slippery slope, last resort, dehumanize ... victims, liberty, security, openness, accountability, resentment, desire for revenge