In this book, philosopher David Boonin attempts to answer the moral questions raised by five important and widely contested racial practices: slave reparations, affirmative action, hate speech restrictions, hate crime laws and racial profiling. Arguing from premises that virtually everyone on both sides of the debates over these issues already accepts, Boonin arrives at an unusual and unorthodox set of conclusions, one that is neither liberal nor conservative, color conscious nor color blind. Defended with the rigor that has characterized his previous work but written in a more widely accessible style, this provocative and important new book is sure to spark controversy and should be of interest to philosophers, legal theorists and anyone interested in trying to resolve the debate over these important and divisive issues.
In this book, David Boonin examines the problem of punishment, and particularly the problem of explaining why it is morally permissible for the state to treat those who break the law in ways that would be wrong to treat those who do not? Boonin argues that there is no satisfactory solution to this problem and that the practice of legal punishment should therefore be abolished. Providing a detailed account of the nature of punishment and the problems that it generates, he offers a comprehensive and critical survey of the various solutions that have been offered to the problem and concludes by considering victim restitution as an alternative to punishment. Written in a clear and accessible style, The Problem of Punishment will be of interest to anyone looking for a critical introduction to the subject as well as to those already familiar with it.
David Boonin presents a new account of the non-identity problem: a puzzle about our obligations to people who do not yet exist. Our actions sometimes have an effect not only on the quality of life that people will enjoy in the future, but on which particular people will exist in the future to enjoy it. In cases where this is so, the combination of certain assumptions that most people seem to accept can yield conclusions that most people seem to reject. The non-identity problem has important implications both for ethical theory and for a number of topics in applied ethics, including controversial issues in bioethics, environmental ethics and disability ethics. It has been the subject of a great deal of discussion for nearly four decades, but this is the first book-length study devoted exclusively to its examination. Boonin begins by explaining what the problem is, why the problem matters, and what criteria a solution to the problem must satisfy in order to count as a successful one. He then provides a critical survey of the solutions to the problem that have thus far been proposed in the sizeable literature that the problem has generated and concludes by developing and defending an unorthodox alternative solution, one that differs fundamentally from virtually every other available approach.