In these essays, we are concerned with virtue in journalism and the media but are mindful of the tension between the commercial foundations of publishing and broadcasting, on the one hand, and journalism's democratic obligations on the other. Adam outlines, first, a moral vision of journalism focusing on individualistic concepts of authorship and craft. Next, Craft attempts to bridge individual and organizational concerns by examining the obligations of organizations to the individuals working within them. Finally, Cohen discusses the importance (...) of resisting the powerful corporate logic that pervades the news media in the United States and calls on journalists to be courageous. (shrink)
John Locke's labor theory of property is one of the seminal ideas of political philosophy and served to establish its author's reputation as one of the leading social and political thinkers of all time. Through it Locke addressed many of his most pressing concerns, and earned a reputation as an outstanding spokesman for political individualism - a reputation that lingers widely despite some partial challenges that have been raised in recent years. In this major new study Matthew Kramer offers (...) an extensive critique of the labor theory and investigates the consequences of its downfall. With incisive analyses of the merits and failings of many aspects of Locke's political thought, Kramer advances a powerful challenge to Locke's image as an individualist. Employing a rigorously philosophical methodology, but remaining aware of the insights generated by historical approaches to Locke, Kramer concludes that Locke's political vision was in fact profoundly communitarian. (shrink)
What is objectivity? What is the rule of law? Are the operations of legal systems objective? If so, in what ways and to what degrees are they objective? Does anything of importance depend on the objectivity of law? These are some of the principal questions addressed by Matthew H. Kramer in this lucid and wide-ranging study that introduces readers to vital areas of philosophical enquiry.
This book is an uncompromising defense of legal positivism that insists on the separability of law and morality. After distinguishing among three facets of morality, Kramer explores a variety of ways in which law has been perceived as integrally connected to each of those facets. The book concludes with a detailed discussion of the obligation to obey the law--a discussion that highlights the strengths of legal positivism in the domain of political philosophy as much as in the domain of (...) jurisprudence. (shrink)
At least since the publication of Isaiah Berlin's famous essay "Two Concepts of Liberty" nearly half a century ago, political philosophers have argued vigorously over the relative merits of "positive" and "negative" accounts of freedom. Matthew Kramer writes squarely within the negative-liberty tradition, but he incorporates a number of ideas that are quite often associated with theories of positive liberty. Much of The Quality of Freedom is devoted to elaborating the necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of particular (...) freedoms and unfreedoms; however, the book's cardinal objective is to establish the measurability of each person's overall freedom and of each society's aggregate freedom. On the one hand, Kramer contends that the existence of any particular instance of liberty or unfreedom is a matter of fact that can be confirmed or disconfirmed without any reliance on evaluative or normative considerations. On the other hand, he argues that the extent of each person's overall freedom or unfreedom cannot be ascertained entirely in the absence of evaluative assumptions. By combining those two positions and developing them in detail, Kramer pits himself against all positive accounts of liberty and most negative accounts. In the course of so doing, he aims to demonstrate the rigorous measurability of overall liberty - something that many writers on freedom have casually dismissed as impossible. Although Kramer concentrates principally on constructing a systematic analysis of sociopolitical freedom, he engages critically with the work of many of the leading contemporary writers on the topic. (shrink)
Third World Citizens and the Information Technology Revolution Content Type Journal Article Category Review Pages 515-522 DOI 10.1558/jcr.v11i4.515 Authors Nicolas Adam, Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM), Université du Québec à Montréal, 400, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Pavillon Hubert-Aquin, 1er étage, bureau A-1560, Montréal (Québec) H2L 2C5 Canada Journal Journal of Critical Realism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 4 / 2012.
How are law and morality connected, how do they interact, and in what ways are they distinct? In Part I of this book, Matthew Kramer argues that moral principles can enter into the law of any jurisdiction. He contends that legal officials can invoke moral principles as laws for resolving disputes, and that they can also invoke them as threshold tests which ordinary laws must satisfy. In opposition to many other theorists, Kramer argues that these functions of moral (...) principles are consistent with all the essential characteristics of any legal system. Part II reaffirms the legal positivist argument that law and morality are separable, arguing against the position of natural-law theory, which portrays legal requirements as a species of moral requirements. Kramer contends that even though the existence of a legal system in any sizeable society is essential for the realization of fundamental moral values, law is not inherently moral either in its effects or in its motivational underpinnings. In the final part, Kramer contests the widespread view that people whose conduct is meticulously careful cannot be held morally responsible for harmful effects of their actions. Through this argument, he reveals that fault-independent liability is present even more prominently in morality than in the law. Through a variety of arguments, Where Law and Morality Meet highlights both some surprising affinities and some striking divergences between morality and law. (shrink)
Debate has long been waged over the morality of capital punishment, with standard arguments in its favour being marshalled against familiar arguments that oppose the practice. In The Ethics of Capital Punishment, Matthew Kramer takes a fresh look at the philosophical arguments on which the legitimacy of the death penalty stands or falls, and he develops a novel justification of that penalty for a limited range of cases. -/- The book pursues both a project of critical debunking of the (...) familiar rationales for capital punishment and a project of partial vindication. The critical part presents some accessible and engaging critiques of major arguments that have been offered in support of the death penalty. These chapters, suitable for use in teaching courses on capital punishment, valuably take issue with positions at the heart of contemporary debates over the morality of such punishment. -/- The book then presents an original justification for executing truly terrible criminals, a justification that is free-standing rather than an aspect or offshoot of a general theory of punishment. Its purgative rationale, which has not heretofore been propounded in any current philosophical and practical debates over the death penalty, derives from a philosophical reconception of the nature of evil and the nature of defilement. -/- As the book contributes to philosophical discussions of those phenomena, it also contributes importantly to general normative ethics with sustained reflections on the differences between consequentialist approaches to punishment and deontological approaches. Above all, the volume contributes to the philosophy of criminal law with a fresh rationale for the use of the death penalty and with probing assessments of all the major theories of punishment that have been broached by jurists and philosophers for centuries. Although the book is a work of philosophy by a professional philosopher, it is readily accessible to readers who have not studied philosophy. It will stir both philosophers and anyone engaged with the death penalty to reconsider whether the institution of capital punishment can be an appropriate response to extreme evil. -/- . (shrink)
This paper considers the ways that Information Ethics (IE) treats things. A number of critics have focused on IE’s move away from anthropocentrism to include non-humans on an equal basis in moral thinking. I enlist Actor Network Theory, Dennett’s views on ‹as if’ intentionality and Magnani’s characterization of ‹moral mediators’. Although they demonstrate different philosophical pedigrees, I argue that these three theories can be pressed into service in defence of IE’s treatment of things. Indeed the support they lend to the (...) extension of moral status to non-human objects can be seen as part of a trend towards the accommodation of non-humans into our moral and social networks. A number of parallels are drawn between philosophical arguments over artificial intelligence and information ethics. (shrink)
Research shows that a culture of consumerism and materialism has a dramatic and negative impact on children's physical and psychological health. Psychologists have a duty to act to reverse this trend. Information on why and how to act is the key. This article explores the use of psychology to improve the effectiveness of advertising to youth and details the harm suffered by children as a result of some of this advertising. A discussion of ethical considerations related to specific guiding principles (...) and ethical standards of the 2002 American Psychological Association (APA) Ethics Code frames why action is imperative. Actions for psychologists to take in applying the 2002 APA Ethics Code are suggested herein. (shrink)
This essay argues against the commonly held view that "ought" implies "can" in the domain of morality. More specifically, I contest the notion that nobody should ever be held morally responsible for failing to avoid the infliction of any harm that he or she has not been able to avoid through all reasonably feasible precautions in the carrying out of some worthwhile activity. The article explicates the concept of a moral right in order to show why violations of moral rights (...) can occur even when no one has acted wrongfully in any fashion. In so doing, it will effectively be maintaining that strict liability (i.e., liability irrespective of the presence or absence of culpability) exists in morality as well as in law. When we take account of the distinction between exoneration and extenuation, we can see that scrupulously thorough precautions are never sufficient to constitute an excuse in morality. Having made that point with some extended examples, the article goes on to consider a number of possible objections - objections that lead into discussions of some basic distinctions within moral philosophy and some central principles within deontic logic. (shrink)
This paper is based on the premise that the analysis of some cyberethics problems would benefit from a feminist treatment. It is argued that both cyberstalking and Internet child pornography are two such areas which have a `gendered' aspect which has rarely been explored in the literature. Against a wide ranging feminist literature of potential relevance, the paper explores a number of cases through a focused approach which weaves together feminist concepts of privacy and the gaze.
Computer ethics is a relatively young discipline,hence it needs time both for reflection and forexploring alternative ethical standpoints in buildingup its own theoretical framework. Feminist ethics isoffered as one such alternative particularly to informissues of equality and power. We argue that feministethics is not narrowly confined to women''s issues but is an approach with wider egalitarianapplications. The rise of feminist ethics in relationto feminist theory in general is described and withinthat the work of Gilligan and others on an ethic of (...) care. We argue for the need to connect theory toempirical evidence. Empirical studies of gender andbusiness and computer ethics are reviewed. We noteconcerns with surveying a student audience, the issueof how far questionnaires and interviews can get tothe heart of ethical beliefs and problems ofperforming statistical analyses of quantitative data.Although we recognize them, our own small surveycannot avoid all these problems. Nevertheless byrefining our scenarios we are able to offer analternative reading of a hacking problem in terms ofan ethic of care thereby pointing a way forward forfuture research in computer ethics inspired byfeminist theory. (shrink)
This paper argues that AI follows classical versions of epistemology in assuming that the identity of the knowing subject is not important. In other words this serves to `delete the subject''. This disguises an implicit hierarchy of knowers involved in the representation of knowledge in AI which privileges the perspective of those who design and build the systems over alternative perspectives. The privileged position reflects Western, professional masculinity. Alternative perspectives, denied a voice, belong to less powerful groups including women. Feminist (...) epistemology can be used to approach this from new directions, in particular, to show how women''s knowledge may be left out of consideration by AI''s focus on masculine subjects. The paper uncovers the tacitly assumed Western professional male subjects in two flagship AI systems, Cyc and Soar. (shrink)
During the past few decades, Quentin Skinner has been one of the most prominent critics of the ideas about negative liberty that have developed out of the writings of Isaiah Berlin. Among Skinner?s principal charges against the contemporary doctrine of negative liberty is the claim that the proponents of that doctrine have overlooked the putative fact that people can be made unfree to refrain from undertaking particular actions. In connection with this matter, Skinner contrasts the present-day theories with the prototypical (...) liberal account of negative freedom propounded by Thomas Hobbes. The present essay challenges Skinner?s position both philosophically and exegetically. Because an agent can always elect to cease his activity as an agent, the ostensible inescapability of certain actions is not the same as the outright inescapability of certain instances of inaction. Once this point is properly recognized, the way is clear for a re-evaluation of Hobbes (and of Skinner on Hobbes). (shrink)
Backdating of stock options is an example of an agency problem. It has emerged despite all the measures (i.e., new regulations and additional corporate governance mechanisms) aimed at addressing such problems? Beyond such negative controlling measures, a more positive empowering approach based on ethics may also be necessary. What ethical measures need to be taken to address the agency problem? What values and norms should guide the board of directors in protecting the shareholders' interests? To examine these issues, we first (...) discuss the role values and norms can play with respect to underlying corporate governance and the proper role of directors, such as transparency, accountability, integrity (which is reflected in proper mechanisms of checks and balances), and public responsibility. Second, we discuss various stakeholder approaches (e.g., government, directors, managers, and shareholders) by which conflicts of interest (i.e., the agency problem) can be addressed. Third, we assess the practice of backdating stock options, as an illustration of the agency problem, in terms of whether the practice is legally acceptable or ethically justifiable. Fourth, we proceed to an analysis of good corporate governance practice involving backdating options based on a series of ethical standards including: (1) trustworthiness; (2) utilitarianism; (3) justice; and (4) Kantianism. We conclude that while executive compensation schemes (e. g., stock options) were originally intended to help remedy the agency problem by tying together the interests of the executives and shareholders, these schemes may have actually become "part of the problem," and that the solution ultimately depends upon whether directors and executives accept that all of their actions must be based on a set of core ethical values. (shrink)
This paper addresses the question of delegation of morality to a machine, through a consideration of whether or not non-humans can be considered to be moral. The aspect of morality under consideration here is protection of privacy. The topic is introduced through two cases where there was a failure in sharing and retaining personal data protected by UK data protection law, with tragic consequences. In some sense this can be regarded as a failure in the process of delegating morality to (...) a computer database. In the UK, the issues that these cases raise have resulted in legislation designed to protect children which allows for the creation of a huge database for children. Paradoxically, we have the situation where we failed to use digital data in enforcing the law to protect children, yet we may now rely heavily on digital technologies to care for children. I draw on the work of Floridi, Sanders, Collins, Kusch, Latour and Akrich, a spectrum of work stretching from philosophy to sociology of technology and the “seamless web” or “actor–network” approach to studies of technology. Intentionality is considered, but not deemed necessary for meaningful moral behaviour. Floridi’s and Sanders’ concept of “distributed morality” accords with the network of agency characterized by actor–network approaches. The paper concludes that enfranchizing non-humans, in the shape of computer databases of personal data, as moral agents is not necessarily problematic but a balance of delegation of morality must be made between human and non-human actors. (shrink)
It is a widely shared view among philosophers of science that the theory-dependence (or theory-ladenness) of observations is worrying, because it can bias empirical tests in favour of the tested theories. These doubts are taken to be dispelled if an observation is influenced by a theory independent of the tested theory and thus circularity is avoided, while (partially) circular tests are taken to require special attention. Contrary to this consensus, it is argued that the epistemic value of theory-dependent tests has (...) nothing to do with the circularity or non-circularity of the test, but is instead based on the minimal empiricality and reliability of observations. Since theory-dependence does not in general prevent observations fulfilling these requirements, it should not be regarded as a phenomenon that is basically detrimental, but as neutral with respect to successful scientific knowledge gathering. (shrink)
This article considers the question of embodiment in relation to gender and whether there are models of artificial intelligence (AI) which can enrol a concept of gender in their design. A central concern for feminist epistemology is the role of the body in the making of knowledge. I consider how this may inform a critique of the AI project and the related area of artificial life (A-Life), the latter area being of most interest in this paper. I explore briefly the (...) tensions between the treatment of the body in different branches of feminist theory, especially the tensions between the approaches of feminist sociology and feminist philosophy. I explore the ways in which writing from category theory and anthropological phenomenology offers rich suggestions as to how the body has been left out of objectivist accounts of epistemology, but struggles to offer an account of why. In its analysis of the links between women, knowledge and the body, feminist revisions of epistemology offer a more convincing why. This is explored briefly through a critique of symbolic AI, and more substantially through the problem of embodiment in artificial life. (shrink)
Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) indices play a major role in the stock markets. A connection between doing good and doing well in business is implied. Leading indices, such as the Domini Social Index and others, exemplify the movement toward investing in socially responsible corporations. However, the question remains: Does the ratings-based methodology for assessing corporate social responsibility (CSR) provide an incentive to firms excluded from SRI indices to invest in CSR? Not in its current format. The ratings-based methodology employed by (...) SRI indices in their selection processes excludes many corporations by creating limited-membership lists. This received ratings-based structure is yet to offer an incentive for most of the excluded corporations to invest in improving their levels of CSR. We, therefore, ask under what circumstances a ratings-based method for assessing CSR could provide an incentive to firms excluded from SRI indices to invest in CSR. In this article, we attempt to offer a theoretical reply to this question. We show that when all firms are publicly ranked according to SRI index parameters, such indices can indeed create a market incentive for increased investment by firms in improving their performance in the area of social responsibility. We further show that this incentive tapers off as the amount of investment required exceeds a certain point or if the amount of payback on that investment fails to reach a certain threshold. (shrink)
In the late 19th century great changes in theories of light and electricity were in direct conflict with certitude, the view that scientific knowledge is infallible. What is, then, the epistemic status of scientific theory? To resolve this issue Duhem and Poincaré proposed images of fallible knowledge, Instrumentalism and Conventionalism, respectively. Only in 1919–1922, after Einstein's relativity was published, he offered arguments to support Fallibilism, the view that certainty cannot be achieved in science. Though Einstein did not consider Duhem's Instrumentalism, (...) he argued against Poincaré's Conventionalism. Hitherto, Einstein's Fallibilism, as presented at first in a rarely known essay of 1919, was left in the dark. Recently, Howard obscured its meaning. Einstein's essay was never translated into English. In my paper I provide its translation and attempt to shed light on Einstein's view and its context; I also direct attention to Einstein's images of philosophical opportunism in scientific practice. (shrink)
In the process of implementing an ethical code of conduct, a business organization uses formal methods. Of these, training, courses and means of enforcement are common and are also suitable for self-regulation. The USA is encouraging business corporations to self regulate with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (FSG). The Guidelines prescribe similar formal methods and specify that, unless such methods are used, the process of implementation will be considered ineffective, and the business will therefore not be considered to have complied with (...) the guidelines. Business organizations invest enormous funds on formal methods. However, recent events indicate that these are not, by themselves, yielding the desired results. Our study, based on a sample of 812 employees and conducted in an Israeli subsidiary of a leading multinational High-Tech corporation headquartered in the US, indicates that, of the methods used in the process of implementation, one of the informal methods (namely, the social norms of the organization) is perceived by employees to have the most influence on their conduct. This result, when examined against employee tenure, remains relatively stable over the years, and stands in contradistinction to the formalistic approach embedded in the FSG. We indirectly measure the effectiveness of the percieved most influential implementation process methods by analyzing their impact on employee attitudes (namely, personal ethical commitment and employees'' commitment to organizational values). Our results indicate that the informal methods (manager sets an example or social norms of the organization) are likely to yield greater commitment with respect to both employee attitudes than the formal method (training and courses on the subject of ethics). The personal control method (my own personal values) differs significantly from all the other methods in that it yields the highest degree of personal ethical commitment and the lowest degree of employees'' commitment to organizational values. (shrink)
We analyse the reception of Niklas Luhmanns social metatheory in Slovenian social. The first part outlines the intellectual climate that prevailed in the decade before the post-socialist transition. The decline of the previously dominant Marxist ideology created space for other social theories. Luhmanns ideas were the most prominent among social macro theories in the initial phase. The second part describes variations in the reception of his ideas. The initial affirmative approach was upgraded by a number of more selective and critical (...) approaches. The third part shows that, although his ideas are no longer quite so prominent, his work is both well recognized and firmly embedded in Slovenian social thought. (shrink)
Summary This article analyzes the possibility of cooperation between philosophy and the history of philosophy. It approaches this task more precisely than has been the case in the discussion heretofore, seeing in this relationship an ideal case, typifying the relationship of systematic to historical disciplines in general. To begin with, a distinction must be made between a naively received history of philosophy and the critical study of philosophy's history. Further distinctions to be made are among receivedcontent, receptionprocesses and the five (...) main categories of the history of philosophy'sfunctions for systematic philosophy (primary information, hermeneutics, heuristics, genetic reflexion and validity tests). Heuristics and validation may be subsumed under the category ofintegration and be brought into relation to the truth criteria of coherence and consensus. The hermeneutical and reflective functions may be understood as proto-heuristics and proto-validation and thereby receive secondorder functionalization. (shrink)
Adam Smith’s account of sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ has recently become exceedingly popular. It has been used as an antecedent of the concept of simulation: understanding, or attributing mental states to, other people by means of simulating them. It has also been singled out as the first correct account of empathy. Finally, to make things even more complicated, some of Smith’s examples for sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ have been used as the earliest expression of emotional contagion. The aim of (...) the paper is to suggest a new interpretation of Smith’s concept of sympathy and point out that on this interpretation some of the contemporary uses of this concept, as a precursor of simulation and empathy, are misleading. My main claim is that Smith's concept of sympathy, unlike simulation and empathy, does not imply any correspondence between the mental states of the sympathizer and of the person she is sympathizing with. (shrink)
Ever since work of Paul Feyerabend, Russell Hanson and Thomas Kuhn in the 1960s, the thesis of the theory-ladenness of scientific observation has attracted much attention both in the philosophy and the sociology of science. The main concern has always been epistemic. It was argued –or feared– that if scientific observations depend on prevalent theories, an objective empirical test of theories and hypotheses by independent observation and experience is impossible. This suggests that theories might appear to be well confirmed by (...) observation, and yet it is not likely that they are largely true or empirically adequate. While some philosophers like Ian Hacking have argued that serious theory-dependence is less common than often assumed, sociologists such as David Bloor, Stephen Shapin, Karin Knorr-Cetina or Harry Collins have based their constructivist programs for the sociology of science on strong claims of theory-ladenness. (shrink)
Many social situations require a mental model of the knowledge, beliefs, goals, and intentions of others: a Theory of Mind (ToM). If a person can reason about other people’s beliefs about his own beliefs or intentions, he is demonstrating second-order ToM reasoning. A standard task to test second-order ToM reasoning is the second-order false belief task. A different approach to investigating ToM reasoning is through its application in a strategic game. Another task that is believed to involve the application of (...) second-order ToM is the comprehension of sentences that the hearer can only understand by considering the speaker’s alternatives. In this study we tested 40 children between 8 and 10 years old and 27 adult controls on (adaptations of) the three tasks mentioned above: the false belief task, a strategic game, and a sentence comprehension task. The results show interesting differences between adults and children, between the three tasks, and between this study and previous research. (shrink)
Rational drug design is a method for developing new pharmaceuticals that typically involves the elucidation of fundamental physiological mechanisms. It thus combines the quest for a scientific understanding of natural phenomena with the design of useful technology and hence integrates epistemic and practical aims of research and development. Case studies of the rational design of the cardiovascular drugs propranolol, captopril and losartan provide insights into characteristics and conditions of this integration. Rational drug design became possible in the 1950s when theoretical (...) knowledge of drug-target interaction and experimental drug testing could interlock in cycles of mutual advancement. The integration does not, however, diminish the importance of basic research for pharmaceutical development. Rather, it can be shown that still in the 1990s, linear processes of innovation and the close combination of practical and epistemic work were interdependent. (shrink)
Scientific claims can be assessed epistemically in either of two ways: according to scientific standards, or by means of philosophical arguments such as the no-miracle argument in favor of scientific realism. This paper investigates the basis of this duality of epistemic assessments. It is claimed that the duality rests on two different notions of epistemic justification that are well-known from the debate on internalism and externalism in general epistemology: a deontological and an alethic notion. By discussing the conditions for the (...) scientific acceptability of empirical results, it is argued that intrascientific justification employs the deontological notion. Philosophical disputes such as those on scientific realism can by contrast be shown to rest on the alethic notion. The implications of these findings both for the nature of the respective epistemic projects and for their interrelation are explored. (shrink)
Consistent with the planning–control model, recent fMRI data reveal that the inferior parietal lobe, the frontal lobes, and the basal ganglia are involved in motor planning. Inconsistent with the planning–control model, however, recent behavioral data reveal a spatial repulsion effect, indicating that the visual context surrounding the target can sometimes influence the on-line control of goal-directed action.
Towards a reconstruction of philosophical hermeneutics. Following Nietzsche, Heidegger and, on the other hand, Cassirer and Wittgenstein, a philosophy of interpretation, i.e. a relativism of world-views, is at present increasing in continental as well as in analytical philosophy. From the basis of a critical fallibilism the shortcomings of the new epistemological antirealism are pointed out in general, and, hence, consequences are drawn for the more specialized case of metahermeneutics (hermeneutics being defined as a sort of pragmatical semiotics). A combination of (...) realistic and antirealistic elements is recommended as unevitable. According to this, firstly, the key-concepts of hermeneutics must be differentiated, and, secondly, a fundamental set of criteria can be established that bridges the gap between metahermeneutics and hermeneutical practice. (shrink)
Industrial drug design methodology has undergone remarkable changes in the recent history. Up to the 1970s, the screening of large numbers of randomly selected substances in biological test system was often a crucial step in the development of novel drugs. From the early 1980s, such ‘blind’ screening was increasingly rejected by many pharmaceutical researchers and gave way to ‘rational drug design’, a method that grounds the design of new drugs on a detailed mechanistic understanding of the drug action. Surprisingly, however, (...) the chance-based method of random screening returned to center stage of industrial drug development in the 1990s in the form of ‘high-throughput screening’ (HTS). I will argue in this paper that this to-and-fro in the prominence of random screening comes with fundamental changes in the epistemic signiﬁcance of chance experiments in pharmaceutical development. While up to the 1970s, random screening used to be chosen as an empirical search strategy primarily because suﬃ- cient knowledge of the mechanistic basis of drug action was lacking, it has turned with high-throughput screening into an experimental method that employs chance variation and testing to illuminate this mechanistic basis. As a consequence, research into the underlying mechanisms of drug action and the development of new drugs have become closely integrated. The rise of HTS therefore not only shows how chance experiments have assumed a new epistemic role in drug development. It also allows for a detailed study of the much debated emergence of a new relationship between scientiﬁc understanding and the development of technological artifacts. (shrink)
Adam Smith’s lasting fame certainly does not come from his work on language. He published very little on this topic and he is not usually mentioned in standard histories of linguistics or the philosophy of language. His most elaborate publication on the subject is a 1761 monograph on the origin and development of languages (FoL). Smith’s monograph joins a long list of speculative work on this then fashionable topic (cf. Hewes 1975, 1996). The fact that he later included it (...) as an appendix to his successful.. (shrink)
This paper foregrounds one argument in Rawls’s work that is crucial to his case for one, determinate, form of political economy: a property-owning democracy. Section one traces the evolution of this idea from the seminal work of Cambridge economist James Meade; section two demonstrates how a commitment to a property-owning democracy flows from Rawls’s own principles; section three focuses on Rawls’s striking critique of orthodox welfare state capitalism. This all sets the stage for an argument, presented in section four, from (...) the complexity of economic interactions to the strategy of making markets fair in the only feasible way that they can be made fair, namely, by “patterning” their effects. Section five concludes by asking whether any scheme of this general type is a realistic form of utopianism for a society such as ours. (shrink)
In this paper I call attention to Adam Smith’s 'Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages' in order to facilitate understanding Adam Smith from a Darwinian perspective. By ‘Darwinian’ I mean a position that explains differential selection over time through natural mechanisms. First, I argue that right near the start of Wealth of Nations Smith signals that human nature has probably evolved over a very long amount of time. Second, I connect this evidence with an infamous passage on (...) infanticide in The Theory of Moral Sentiments in order to argue that Smith is committed to group selection. Third, I argue that in Dissertation on Languages one can find building blocks for the claim that mind and language co-develop over time. More controversially I claim that in TMS there is a distinction between natural sentiments and moral sentiments. Natural sentiments are evolved (presumably through cultural selection) and moral sentiments are developed (through acculturation within society). Along the way, I argue that this distinction would have improved Darwin’s Descent of Man by blocking a move toward eugenics. (shrink)
Adam Smith is usually thought to argue that the result of everyone pursuing their own interests will be the maximization of the interests of society. The invisible hand of the free market will transform the individual''s pursuit of gain into the general utility of society. This is the invisible hand argument.Many people, although Smith did not, draw a moral corollary from this argument, and use it to defend the moral acceptability of pursuing one''s own self-interest.
This paper presents a theoretical elaboration of the ethical framework of classical capitalism as formulated by Adam Smith in reaction to the dominant mercantilism of his day. It is seen that Smith's project was profoundly ethical and designed to emancipate the consumer from a producer and state dominated economy. Over time, however, the various dysfunctions of a capitalist economy — e.g., concentration of wealth, market power — became manifest and the utilitarian ethical basis of the system eroded. Contemporary capitalism, (...) dominated as it is by large corporations, entrenched political interests and persistent social pathologies, bears little resemblance to the system which Smith envisioned would serve the common man. Most critiques of capitalism are launched from a Marxian-based perspective. We find, however, that by illustrating the wide gap between the reality of contemporary capitalism and the model of amoral political economy developed by Smith, the father of capitalism proves to be the most trenchant critic of the current order. (shrink)
The essay is framed by conflict between Christianity and Darwinian science over the history of the world and the nature of human personhood. Evolutionary science narrates a long prehuman geological and biological history filled with vast amounts, kinds, and distributions of apparently random brutal and pointless suffering. It also strongly suggests that the first modern humans were morally primitive. This science seems to discredit Christianity's common meta-narrative of the Fall, understood as a story of Paradise Lost. The author contends that (...) this Augustinian story and its character of Adam as endowed with superhuman gifts, and yet as so fragile as to fall, as claimed, is implausible, at any rate, even apart from science. He proposes that Christians consider adopting a Supralapsarian metaphysics of divine purpose supported by the intuitions of Irenaeus, who depicted the first human beings as comparable to innocent, but morally undeveloped children. In this approach the existence of evils is part of the divine plan to "defeat" them in and through the Incarnation, Atonement, and Resurrection of Christ. Putting an "Irenaean Adam" in place of the "Augustinian" counterpart may not remove conflict with science completely, but at least reduces it, and leads to a Christian narrative that is more plausible, in the light of science. (shrink)
Both Adam Smith and Herbert spencer, albeit in quite different ways, have been enormously influential in what we today take to be philosophies of modern capitalism. Surprisingly it is Spencer, not Smith, who is the individualist, perhaps an egoist, and supports a "night watchman" theory of the state. Smith's concept of political economy is a notion that needs to be revisited, and Spencer's theory of democratic workplace management offers a refreshing twist on contemporary libertarianism.
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith's moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith's "all important emotion of sympathy" (Callicott, 2001, p. 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in "History of Astronomy and Physics," I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature (...) is possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael examines the moral philosophy of Adam Smith (1723-90), best known for his famous work on economics, The Wealth of Nations, and shows that his thought still has much to offer philosophers today. Raphael gives particular attention to Smith's original theory of conscience, with its emphasis on the role of 'sympathy' (shared feelings).
In this paper I revisit Adam Smith’s treatment of Copernicanism and Newtonianism in his essay, “The History of Astronomy” (hereafter: “Astronomy”), in light of a surprisingly ignored context: David Hume. This remark will strike most scholars of Adam Smith as unfounded—David Hume’s philosophy is often invoked as a source of Smith’s approach in the “Astronomy” or as its target. Yet, Hume’s occasional remarks on Copernicanism nor his treatment of the history of science in the History of England (1754-62, (...) but revised throughout Hume’s life) have not been carefully analyzed in light of the “Astronomy.” In the first five sections of this paper I offer a detailed analysis of all of Hume’s remarks on the Copernican system in his oeuvre. I show that David Hume believed that Copernicus achieved a “revolution” in philosophy. Moreover, I argue that Hume increasingly treats Galileo as the hero of the Copernican revolution. In doing so, Hume appears surprisingly blind to the importance of post-Galilean natural philosophy, especially the (dynamical) arguments that Huygens and Newton provided for the rotation of the Earth. In the last section of the paper, I argue that Adam Smith does show appreciation of dynamic views. I show that Smith and the mature Hume agree on the importance of Galileo, even describing his method in strikingly similar language, but that they evaluate the evidence differently in light of two conflicting commitments: i) Hume is committed to the “true philosophy”—-a certain kind of scepticism which Smith does not share; ii) Hume never seems to have assimilated the way Newton changed the evidential standards within science. (shrink)
Adam Smith was a philosopher before he ever wrote about economics, yet until now there has never been a philosophical commentary on the Wealth of Nations . Samuel Fleischacker suggests that Smith's vastly influential treatise on economics can be better understood if placed in the light of his epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. He lays out the relevance of these aspects of Smith's thought to specific themes in the Wealth of Nations , arguing, among other things, that (...) Smith regards social science as an extension of common sense rather than as a discipline to be approached mathematically, that he has moral as well as pragmatic reasons for approving of capitalism, and that he has an unusually strong belief in human equality that leads him to anticipate, if not quite endorse, the modern doctrine of distributive justice. Fleischacker also places Smith's views in relation to the work of his contemporaries, especially his teacher Francis Hutcheson and friend David Hume, and draws out consequences of Smith's thought for present-day political and philosophical debates. The Companion is divided into five general sections, which can be read independently of one another. It contains an index that points to commentary on specific passages in Wealth of Nations . Written in an approachable style befitting Smith's own clear yet finely honed rhetoric, it is intended for professional philosophers and political economists as well as those coming to Smith for the first time. (shrink)
In this paper I call attention to Adam Smith’s “Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages” in order to facilitate understanding Adam Smith from a Darwinian perspective. By ‘Darwinian’ I mean a position that explains differential selection over time through natural mechanisms. First, I argue that right near the start of Wealth of Nations Smith signals that human nature has probably evolved over a very long amount of time. Second, I connect this evidence with an infamous passage on (...) infanticide in The Theory of Moral Sentiments in order to argue that Smith is committed to group selection. Third, I argue that in Dissertation on Languages one can find building blocks for the claim that mind and language co-develop over time. More controversially I claim that in TMS there is a distinction between natural sentiments and moral sentiments. Natural sentiments are evolved (presumably through cultural selection) and moral sentiments are developed (through acculturation within society). Along the way, I argue that this distinction would have improved Darwin’s Descent of Man by blocking a move toward eugenics. (shrink)
When Adam Smith published his celebrated writings on economics and moral philosophy he famously referred to the operation of an invisible hand. Adam Smith's Political Philosophy makes visible the invisible hand by examining its significance in Smith's political philosophy and relating it to similar concepts used by other philosophers, revealing a distinctive approach to social theory that stresses the significance of the unintended consequences of human action. This book introduces greater conceptual clarity to the discussion of the invisible (...) hand and the related concept of unintended order in the work of Smith and in political theory more generally. By examining the application of spontaneous order ideas in the work of Smith, Hume, Hayek and Popper, Adam Smith's Political Philosophy traces similarities in approach and from these builds a conceptual, composite model of an invisible hand argument. While setting out a clear model of the idea of spontaneous order the book also builds the case for using the idea of spontaneous order as an explanatory social theory, with chapters on its application in the fields of science, moral philosophy, law and government. (shrink)
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith’s moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith’s “all important emotion of sympathy” (Callicott 2001: 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments , as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in “History of Astronomy and Physics,” I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature (...) is possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
Frans de Waal’s view that empathy is at the basis of morality directly seems to build on Darwin, who considered sympathy as the crucial instinct. Yet when we look closer, their understanding of the central social instinct differs considerably. De Waal sees our deeply ingrained tendency to sympathize (or rather: empathize) with others as the good side of our morally dualistic nature. For Darwin, sympathizing was not the whole story of the workings of sympathy ; the (selfish) need to receive (...) sympathy played just as central a role in the complex roads from sympathy to morality. Darwin’s understanding of sympathy stems from Adam Smith, who argued that the presence of morally impure motives should not be a reason for cynicism about morality. I suggest that De Waal’s approach could benefit from a more thorough alignment with the analysis of the workings of sympathy in the work of Darwin and Adam Smith. (shrink)
One of the more striking aspects of Adam Smith's moral theory is the degree to which it depends on and appeals to aesthetic norms. By considering what Smith says about judgments of propriety – the foundational type of judgment in his system – and by tying what he says in The Theory of Moral Sentiments to certain of his other writings, I argue that Smith ultimately defends an aesthetic morality. Among the challenges that any aesthetic morality faces is that (...) it seems to entail moral relativism. This problem is magnified by Smith's reliance on the judgments of the impartial spectator, which also seems to make his theory more vulnerable to a Euthyphro-type objection. I suggest that Smith can potentially get around these problems, given his presumption of aesthetic naturalism. While there is certainly some variation in our aesthetic judgments, Smith claims that we naturally find certain actions and sentiments odious, while others we find agreeable. The reason, he argues, is that any society that judged otherwise would not survive. (shrink)
Adam Smith's ethics have long been thought to be much closer to the Stoic school than to any other school of the ancient world. Recent scholarship however has focused on the fact that Smith also appears to be quite close to Aristotle. I shall attend to Smith's deployment of a version of the doctrine of the mean, shall show that it is quite close to Aristotle's, shall demonstrate that in its detailed application it is seriously at odds with Stoic (...) teaching on the passions, and particularly with their teachings on anger, and shall conclude that on a central issue of ethics Smith is a good deal closer to Aristotelian than to Stoic thinking. (shrink)
Combining the methods of the modern philosopher with those of the historian of ideas, Knud Haakonssen presents an interpretation of the philosophy of law which Adam Smith developed out of - and partly in response to - David Hume's theory of justice. While acknowledging that the influences on Smith were many and various, Dr Haakonssen suggests that the decisive philosophical one was Hume's analysis of justice in A Treatise of Human Nature and the second Enquiry. He therefore begins with (...) a thorough investigation of Hume, from which he goes on to show the philosophical originality of Smith's new form of natural jurisprudence. At the same time, he provides an over all reading of Smith's social and political thought, demonstrating clearly the exact links between the moral theory of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and the sociohistorical theory of The Wealth of Nations. This is the first full analysis of Adam Smith's jurisprudence; it emphasizes its normative and critical function, and relates this to the psychological, sociological, and histroical aspects which hitherto have attracted most attention. Dr Haakonssen is critical of both purely descriptivist and utilitarian interpretations of Smith's moral and political philosophy, and demonstrates the implausibility of regarding Smith's view of history as pseudo-economic or 'materialist'. (shrink)
In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) Adam Smith draws on the Stoic idea of a Providence that uses everything for the good of the whole. The process is often painful, so the Stoic ethic insisted on conscious cooperation. Stoic ideas contributed to the rise of science and enjoyed wide popularity in Smith’s England. Smith was more influenced by the Stoicism of his professors than by the Epicureanism of Hume. In TMS, Marcus Aurelius’s “helmsman” becomes the “impartial spectator,” who (...) judges actions in terms of the way they are seen by others. This is the key to justice, without which society collapses. Business school students should be taught that Smith’s “invisible hand” is best understood as a universal rationality that uses just actions for the benefit of the whole. (shrink)
The invisible hand image is at the centre of contemporary debates about capacities of markets, on which discussion of many other topics in business ethics rests. However, its meaning in Adam Smith’s writings remains obscure, particularly the religious associations that were obvious to early readers. He drew on Isaac Newton’s theories of divine action and providence, mediated through the moderate Calvinism of the eighteenth century Scottish circles in which he moved. I argue within the context of Smith’s general providential (...) account of markets, the invisible hand operates restrain inequality and capital flight, thereby stabilizing the market system. Such an understanding of the invisible hand raises questions for contemporary religious and secular discussions of the capacities of markets in the wake of the global financial crisis. (shrink)
This article points out the challenges to current models for media ethics that arise from the private ownership of public media, and it proposes a new model that integrates Adam Smith's free-market theory and his system of moral reasoning. The model creates moral obligations to maintain the integrity of a system for anyone who profits from it. This model renews an appeal for the contemporary notion of transparency and is built on an analogy between the system of the free (...) market for creating wealth and the system of the free press for producing reliable market information. (shrink)
Motivation crowding out can lead to a reduction of ‘higher’ virtues, such as altruism or public spirit, in market contexts. This article discusses the role of virtue in the moral and economic theory of Adam Smith. It argues that because Smith’s account of commercial society is based on ‘lower’ virtue, ‘higher’ virtue has a precarious place in it; this phenomenon is structurally similar to motivation crowding out. The article analyzes and systematizes the ways in which Smith builds on ‘contrivances (...) of nature’ in order to solve the problems of limited self-command and limited knowledge. As recent research has shown, a clear separation of different social spheres can help to reduce the risk of motivation crowding out and preserve a place for ‘higher virtue’ in commercial society. The conclusion reflects on the performative power of economics, arguing that the one-sided focus on models of ‘economic man’ should be embedded in a larger context. (shrink)
Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in 1723 (Source on Smith's life: E G West, Adam Smith ). He entered Glasgow University in 1737, aged 14. This university still followed some practices of the medieval universities, for example in admitting students at age 14. Its professors still took fees directly from students: that had been the original practice in medieval universities, but in more famous universities rich people had endowed colleges within the university, which paid lecturers' salaries. (...) The Glasgow timetable was still medieval. The main lecture took place at 7.30 am in the cold and dark, at 11 the students were quizzed on the mornings lecture, at 12 there was a lecture on an optional topic. This was the typical student's day in the thirteenth century. But the curriculum was modern: besides philosophy (the main medieval subject) students took Greek and Mathematics. The philosophy was modern. At Glasgow Adam Smith studied under Francis Hutcheson (see extracts from his works in Raphael British Moralists vol.1, p.261ff.)). Hutchison taught in English (not Latin) and was a vivid lecturer. Moral philosophy, or ethics, was a flourishing subject at the time. The main division was between two schools of 'intuitionists' (as they would now be called). To remind you: Ethics is concerned with what is good and bad, better and worse, in human conduct - in the ends we seek, in the actions in which we seek our ends. Intuitionism is the doctrine that in the last analysis we simply 'see' that some way of acting is good or right, or the opposite: that basic ethical assessments cannot be justified by argument, and do not need to be. 'See' of course is a metaphor. Many 18C moral philosophers held that it is reason that 'sees' what is good and right. Hutchison said that it is a moral sense: not reason, and not the bodily senses of vision, hearing etc., but something more like a bodily sense than like reason. On Hutchison's analysis, ethical judgement is a specific kind of emotional reaction to a comtemplated act.. (shrink)
The version of the invisible hand argument in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments differs in important respects from the version in The Wealth of Nations. Both are different, in turn, from the version invoked by Milton Friedman in Free to Choose. However, all three have a common structure. Attention to this structure can help sharpen our sense of their essential thrust by highlighting the questions (about the nature of economic motivation, the structure of markets, and conceptions of the (...) public interest) to which answers of certain kinds would have to be available for any of the versions to succeed. (shrink)
This paper explores the significance of Adam Smith's ideas for defending non-cognitivist theories of aesthetic appreciation of nature. Objections to non-cognitivism argue that the exercise of emotion and imagination in aesthetic judgement potentially sentimentalizes and trivializes nature. I argue that although directed at moral judgement, Smith's views also find a place in addressing this problem. First, sympathetic imagination may afford a deeper and more sensitive type of aesthetic engagement. Second, in taking up the position of the impartial spectator, aesthetic (...) judgements may originate in a type of self-regulated response where we stand outside ourselves to check those overly humanizing tendencies which might lead to a failure in appreciating nature as nature. (shrink)
Adam Smith's name has become synonymous with free market economics. Recent scholarship has given us a richer, more nuanced figure, steeped in the intricacies of enlightenment social and political philosophy. Adam Smith's Discourse develops this literature and gives it a radical new dimension. The first book on Adam Smith to deal with recent debates in literary theory, this interdisciplinary work examines Smith's major texts and places them within the context of enlightenment thought. It considers Smith's major (...) writings--the Lectures on Jurisprudence and On Rhetoric and Belles Letters as well as The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations --and places each within its own discursive context and with reference to its stylistic and rhetorical features. Adam Smith's Discourse debunks the view of Smith as a dogmatic free-marketeer. In its place, the book offers a portrait of a more skeptical, philosophical andpolitically focused figure. It shows that Smith's enthusiasm for the transition to a society based on trade and manufacturing was tinged with a more dispassionate recognition of the losses as well as the benefits derived from commercial society. (shrink)
Though Adam Smith believed that the spontaneous forces of the market set prices at the most productive level, he doubted that market forces price wages as fairly as the prices of other commodities. In fact, various observations by Smith suggest that the market tends to undervalue wages almost as naturally as it naturalizes the prices of most commodities under nonmonopolistic conditions. Those observations imply the germ of a capitalist theory of exploitation.
Although Adam Smith is best known as the founder of scientific economics and an early proponent of the modern market economy, political economy is only one part of his comprehensive intellectual system. Consisting of a theory of mind and its functions in language, arts, science and social intercourse, Smith's system was a towering contribution to the Scottish Enlightenment. This Companion provides an up-to-date examination of all aspects of Smith's thought. Collectively, the essays take into account his multiple contexts--Scottish, British, (...) European, Atlantic, biographical, institutional, political and philosophical. (shrink)
In the POL167 course materials there is an essay 'Free enterprise and its critics' , which I suggest you read. It is not about Adam Smith particularly, but about the theory which he proposed and others developed.