Govert den Hartogh, born in Kampen, the Netherlands, in 1943. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Professor of Ethics at the University of Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2000 – 30 June 2001)
My research focused on the following themes:
The significance of intention on the rationality of actions: I was able to finish my paper, “Intending for Autonomous Effects”, and write another paper, “The Authority of Intentions”. Both papers defend the thesis that the basic function of intention is to represent the balance of reasons applying to an action when direct consideration of those reasons at the time of action would probably have resulted in a sub-optimal outcome. The nature of the authority of the modern state: I wrote a paper called “Humanitarian Intervention and the Self-Image of the State”, in which I discuss the thesis that the modern state necessarily claims a comprehensive and unlimited authority. As a way of testing this thesis I consider the legal status of (unauthorised) humanitarian intervention. Secondly I studied some basic issues of fiscal justice, in particular Hofstra’s thesis (1946, recently defended by Thomas Nagel and Liam Murphy in “Justice in Taxation”) that citizens have no claim at all to their pre-tax income. Some ethical aspects of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS): I updated my knowledge of the recent literature, in particular with reference to the classification of medical decisions at the end of life. Does euthanasia differ in a morally significant way from for example, discontinuing treatment or from life-shortening forms of palliation? I also looked more closely at the requirements for careful action as described in recent Dutch, and proposed Belgian, legislation concerning euthanasia and PAS, with particular regard to the terms ‘unbearable’ and ‘hopeless’ suffering, ‘voluntary’ and ‘well-considered’ request