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Robert C. Hughes
University of Pennsylvania
  1. Paying People to Risk Life or Limb.Robert C. Hughes - 2019 - Business Ethics Quarterly 29 (3):295-316.
    Does the content of a physically dangerous job affect the moral permissibility of hiring for that job? To what extent may employers consider costs in choosing workplace safety measures? Drawing on Kantian ethical theory, this article defends two strong ethical standards of workplace safety. First, the content of a hazardous job does indeed affect the moral permissibility of offering it. Unless employees need hazard pay to meet basic needs, it is permissible to offer a dangerous job only if prospective employees (...)
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  2.  86
    Pricing Medicine Fairly.Robert C. Hughes - 2020 - Philosophy of Management 19 (4):369-385.
    Recently, dramatic price increases by several pharmaceutical companies have provoked public outrage. These scandals raise questions both about how pharmaceutical firms should be regulated and about how pharmaceutical executives ethically ought to make pricing decisions when drug prices are largely unregulated. Though there is an extensive literature on the regulatory question, the ethical question has been largely unexplored. This article defends a Kantian approach to the ethics of pharmaceutical pricing in an unregulated market. To the extent possible, pharmaceutical companies must (...)
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  3. Imprisonment and the Right to Freedom of Movement.Robert C. Hughes - 2018 - In Chris W. Surprenant (ed.), Rethinking Punishment in the Era of Mass Incarceration. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 89-104.
    Government’s use of imprisonment raises distinctive moral issues. Even if government has broad authority to make and to enforce law, government may not be entitled to use imprisonment as a punishment for all the criminal laws it is entitled to make. Indeed, there may be some serious crimes that it is wrong to punish with imprisonment, even if the conditions of imprisonment are humane and even if no adequate alternative punishments are available.
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  4. Law and the Entitlement to Coerce.Robert C. Hughes - 2013 - In Wilfrid J. Waluchow & Stefan Sciaraffa (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of the Nature of Law. Oxford University Press. pp. 183.
    Many assume that whenever government is entitled to make a law, it is entitled to enforce that law coercively. I argue that the justification of legal authority and the justification of governmental coercion come apart. Both in ideal theory and in actual human societies, governments are sometimes entitled to make laws that they are not entitled to enforce coercively.
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  5.  57
    Risk, Double Effect and the Social Benefit Requirement.Robert C. Hughes - 2021 - Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (12):29-29.
    Many ethicists maintain that medical research on human subjects that presents no prospect of direct medical benefit must have a prospect of social benefit to be ethical. Payment is not the sort of benefit that justifies exposing subjects to risk. Alan Wertheimer has raised a serious challenge to this view, pointing out that in industry, social value is not considered necessary to make dangerous jobs ethical. This article argues that Wertheimer was correct to think that the ethics of hazard pay (...)
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  6. Exploitation, Deontological Constraints, and Shareholder Theory.Robert C. Hughes - 2019 - Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy 17:1007-1026.
    One of the central controversies in normative business ethics is the question whether transactions and economic relationships can be wrongfully exploitative despite being mutually beneficial and consensual. This article argues that anyone who accepts a shareholder theory of business ethics should accept deontological constraints on mutually beneficial, consensual exploitation.
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  7. Judicial Democracy.Robert C. Hughes - 2019 - Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 51:19-64.
    Many scholars believe that it is procedurally undemocratic for the judiciary to have an active role in shaping the law. These scholars believe either that such practices as judicial review and creative statutory interpretation are unjustified, or that they are justified only because they improve the law substantively. This Article argues instead that the judiciary can play an important procedurally democratic role in the development of the law. Majority rule by legislatures is not the only defining feature of democracy; rather, (...)
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  8. Egalitarian Provision of Necessary Medical Treatment.Robert C. Hughes - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (1):55-78.
    Considerations of autonomy and independence, properly understood, support strictly egalitarian provision of necessary medical treatment. If the financially better-off can purchase access to necessary medical treatments that the financially less well-off cannot purchase without help, then their discretionary power to give or to withhold monetary gifts indirectly gives them the power to make life-and-death or sickness-and-health decisions for others. To prevent private citizens from having this objectionable form of power, government must ensure that citizens’ finances do not affect their access (...)
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  9.  46
    The Ethics of Obeying Judicial Orders in Flawed Societies.Robert C. Hughes - 2020 - Res Publica 26 (4):559-575.
    Many accounts of the moral duty to obey the law either restrict the duty to ideal democracies or leave the duty’s application to non-ideal societies unclear. This article presents and defends a partial account of the moral duty to obey the law in non-ideal societies, focusing on the duty to obey judicial orders. We need public judicial authority to prevent objectionable power relationships that can result from disputes about private agreements. The moral need to prevent power imbalances in private relationships (...)
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  10.  79
    Responsive Government and Duties of Conscience.Robert C. Hughes - 2014 - Jurisprudence 5 (2):244-264.
    This paper defends a new argument for enabling citizen participation in government: individuals must have genuine opportunities to try to change the law in order to be able to satisfy duties of conscience. Without such opportunities, citizens who regard systems of related laws as partially unjust face a moral dilemma. If they comply with these laws willingly without also trying to change them, they commit a pro tanto wrong by willingly participating in injustice . If they disobey, or if they (...)
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