This article will compare and contrast two very different accounts of convention: the game-theoretical account of Lewis in Convention, and the account initially proposed by Margaret Gilbert (the present author) in chapter six of On Social Facts, and further elaborated here. Gilbert’s account is not a variant of Lewis’s. It was arrived at in part as the result of a detailed critique of Lewis’s account in relation to a central everyday concept of a social convention. An account of (...) convention need not be judged by that standard. Perhaps it reveals the nature of an important phenomenon. Looked at in that light, these very different accounts are not incompatible. Indeed, neither should be ignored if one is seeking to understand the way in which human beings arrive at some degree of social order. (shrink)
Terrorism, Security and Nationality shows how the concepts and methods of political philosophy can be applied to the practical problems of terrorism, state violence and national security. The book clarifies a wide range of issues in applied political philosophy, including the ethics of war, theories of state and nation, the relationship between communities and nationalisms, and the uneasy balance of human rights and national security. Ethnicity, national identity and the interests of the state, concepts commonly cited to justify terrorist acts, (...) all imply starkly contrasting notions of what constitutes a political community. Paul Gilbert examines the reasons for political violence and the plausibility of such justifications. He investigates notions of terrorism as unjust war and as political crime and concludes by considering the proper response of the state to political violence. (shrink)
Gilbert’s four modes of communication include the logical, the emotional, the visceral and the kisceral, which last has not received much attention at all. This mode covers the forms of argument that rely on intuition and undefended basal assumptions. These forms range from the scientific and mathematical to the religious and mystical. In this paper these forms will be examined, and suggestions made for ways in which intuitive frameworks can be compared and valued.
Margaret Gilbert offers an incisive new approach to a classic problem of political philosophy: when and why should I do what the laws of my country tell me to do? Beginning with carefully argued accounts of social groups in general and political societies in particular, the author argues that in central, standard senses of the relevant terms membership in a political society in and of itself obligates one to support that society's political institutions. The obligations in question are not (...) moral requirements derived from general moral principles, as is often supposed, but a matter of one's participation in a special kind of commitment: joint commitment. An agreement is sufficient but not necessary to generate such a commitment. Gilbert uses the phrase 'plural subject' to refer to all of those who are jointly committed in some way. She therefore labels the theory offered in this book the plural subject theory of political obligation. The author concentrates on the exposition of this theory, carefully explaining how and in what sense joint commitments obligate. She also explores a classic theory of political obligation --- actual contract theory --- according to which one is obligated to conform to the laws of one's country because one agreed to do so. She offers a new interpretation of this theory in light of a theory of plural subject theory of agreements. She argues that actual contract theory has more merit than has been thought, though the more general plural subject theory is to be preferred. She compares and contrasts plural subject theory with identification theory, relationship theory, and the theory of fair play. She brings it to bear on some classic situations of crisis, and, in the concluding chapter, suggests a number of avenues for related empirical and moral inquiry. Clearly and compellingly written, A Theory of Political Obligation will be essential reading for political philosophers and theorists. (shrink)
David V. Ciavatta: Spirit, the family, and the unconscious in Hegel’s philosophy Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11007-012-9222-0 Authors Bruce Gilbert, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke (Lennoxville), QC, Canada Journal Continental Philosophy Review Online ISSN 1573-1103 Print ISSN 1387-2842.
Among other things, this paper considers what so-called collective guilt feelings amount to. If collective guilt feelings are sometimes appropriate, it must be the case that collectives can indeed be guilty. The paper begins with an account of what it is for a collective to intend to do something and to act in light of that intention. An account of collective guilt in terms of membership guilt feelings is found wanting. Finally, a "plural subject" account of collective guilt feelings is (...) articulated, such that they involve a joint commitment to feel guilt as a body. (shrink)
Since the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and more recent Federal legislation, managers, regulators, and attorneys have been busy in sorting out the legal meaning of fairness in employment. While ethical managers must follow the law in their hiring practices, they cannot be satisfied with legal compliance. In this article, we first briefly summarize what the law requires in terms of fair hiring practices. We subsequently rely on multiple perspectives to explore the ethical meaning (...) of fairness in hiring. Ethical fairness underlies the law and regulations in this area, but goes beyond them as well. We conclude by demonstrating that ethical hiring practices enable managers to make better hiring decisions. (shrink)
In two studies, we used the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) to investigate the relationship between individual differences in moral philosophy, involvement in the animal rights movement, and attitudes toward the treatment of animals. In the first, 600 animal rights activists attending a national demonstration and 266 nonactivist college students were given the EPQ. Analysis of the returns from 157 activists and 198 students indicated that the activists were more likely than the students to hold an "absolutist" moral orientation (high idealism, (...) low relativism). In the second study, 169 students were given the EPQ with a scale designed to measure attitudes toward the treatment of animals. Multiple regression showed that gender and the EPQ dimension of idealism were related to attitudes toward animal use. (shrink)
Currently, an increasing number of organizations are attempting to enhance inclusiveness of under represented individuals through proactive efforts to manage their diversity. In this article, we define diversity management against the backdrop of its predecessor, affirmative action. Next, selected examples of organizations that have experienced specific positive bottom line results from diversity management strategies are discussed. The present paper also provides a conceptual model to examine antecedents and consequences of effective diversity management. Additional research areas identified from the model and (...) literature review result in a number of research propositions intended to enhance the exploration and understanding of diversity management. (shrink)
This paper challenges the common assumption that an agreement is an exchange of promises. Proposing that the performance obligations of some typical agreements are simultaneous, interdependent, and unconditional, it argues that no promise-exchange has this structure of obligations. In addition to offering general considerations in support of this claim, it examines various types of promise-exchange, showing that none satisfy the criteria noted. Two forms of conditional promise are distinguished and both forms are discussed. A positive account of agreements as joint (...) decisions founded in a joint commitment is sketched. It is argued that the example agreements represent especially clearly the normative structure of social union. (shrink)
Can teams and other collectivities have preferences of their own, preferences that are not in some way reducible to the personal preferences of their members? In short, are collective preferences possible? In everyday life people speak easily of what we prefer, where what is at issue seems to be a collective preference. This is suggested by the acceptability of such remarks as ‘My ideal walk would be . . . along rougher and less well-marked paths than we prefer as a (...) family’. One can imagine, indeed, that each member of a given family prefers something other than what the family prefers. What, then, do the collective preferences of everyday understanding amount to? (shrink)
Typical agreements can be seen as joint decisions, inherently involving obligations of a distinctive kind. These obligations derive from the joint commitment' that underlies a joint decision. One consequence of this understanding of agreements and their obligations is that coerced agreements are possible and impose obligations. It is not that the parties to an agreement should always conform to it, all things considered. Unless one is released from the agreement, however, one has some reason to conform to it, whatever else (...) is true. In this sense, one is under an obligation to the other parties. The relevance of these points to the issue of political obligation is discussed. (shrink)
Can it ever be appropriate to feel guilt just because one's group has acted badly? Some say no, citing supposed features of guilt feelings as such. If one understands group action according to my plural subject account of groups, however, one can argue for the appropriateness of feeling guilt just because one's group has acted badly - a feeling that often occurs. In so arguing I sketch a plural subject account of groups, group intentions and group actions: for a group (...) to intend (in the relevant sense) is for its members to be jointly committed to intend that such-and-such as a body. Individual group members need not be directly involved in the formation of the intention in order to participate in such a joint commitment. The core concept of joint commitment is in an important way holistic, not being reducible to a set of personal commitments over which each party holds sway. (shrink)
This paper criticises a line of argument adopted by peter winch, Karl popper, And others, To the effect that the course of human history cannot be predicted. On this view it is impossible to predict in a particularly detailed way certain events ('original acts') on which important social developments depend. We analyze the argument, Showing that one version fails: original acts are in principle predictable in the relevant way. A cogent version is presented; this requires a special definition for 'original (...) act'. But, We claim, Social developments do not depend on original acts so defined. We argue separately for the possibility of a person, Or a scientific community, Predicting his or its own original acts. (shrink)
In the contemporary flurry of hostile corporate takeover activity, the ethics of the practice of greenmail have been called into question. The authors provide an account of greenmail in parallel with Daniel Ellsberg's conception of blackmail, as consisting of two conditions: a threat condition and a compliance condition.The analysis then proceeds to consider two questions: Is all greenmail morally wrong? Are all hostile takeovers morally wrong? The authors conclude that there is no basis for answering either question in the affirmative. (...) While there is no cause for moral concern per se, the practices of both greenmail and hostile takeovers yield deeper and more interesting questions for the theory of corporate governance. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of values in strategic management. We discuss recent criticisms of the concept of strategy and argue that the concept of value helps reconcile these criticisms with traditional models of strategy. We show that Andrews' model of corporate strategy rightly takes morally significant values to be essential to effective management. We show how the notion of value can be clarified and used in research into various conceptions of corporate morality.
The use of literature, and other sources from the humanities, in management education has become more prominent in recent years. But, there is reason to question the ethical justifications by which the marriage of Management and the Humanities is customarily defended. This paper is a critique of Management and the Humanities as it is practiced through the use of literature. By means of a liberal pragmatist kind of criticism, and a case analysis about a hypothetical Grand Theory of Management called (...) Theory R, I draw a sharp distinction between a Management and the Humanities approach that merely confirms conventional truths and a new approach to Management and the Humanities that enables students to grow as what Henry Giroux calls "critical rather than 'good' citizens." I show how this new approach can enable management educators to retrieve the potential of Management and the Humanities to contribute to liberal education. (shrink)
Corporate Strategy has emerged as a central metaphor for private-sector enterprise. Given inherent imperfections in markets, one important question to consider is how well the practice of Corporate Strategy contributes to social welfare. An account of the implicit morality of free markets is developed as a standard against which two particular, second best solutions to market imperfections — namely, American federal antitrust policy and Corporate Strategy — are compared. Corporate Strategy is subsequently evaluated in terms of the fundamental principles of (...) Rawls' theory of justice. In both analyses, Corporate Strategy is found to depart significantly and systematically from the standards of social justice. An alternative principle, grounded in the concept of duty, is introduced as a means for reconceptualizing Corporate Strategy. (shrink)