Business Ethics and medical ethics are in principle compatible: In particular, the tools of business ethics can be useful to those doing healthcare ethics. Health care could be conducted as a business and maintain its moral core.
The “paradox of deontology” depends partly upon ignoring the special responsibility each person has for her own actions, and partly upon ignoring the essential differences between refraining from X and persuading another to refrain. But only in part; the paradoxical situations schematized by Shaw can occasionally occur. When they do, his pragmatic defense of deontology is sound.
: New genetic technologies continue to emerge that allow us to control the genetic endowment of future children. Increasingly the claim is made that it is morally "irresponsible" for parents to fail to use such technologies when they know their possible children are at risk for a serious genetic disorder. We believe such charges are often unwarranted. Our goal in this article is to offer a careful conceptual analysis of the language of irresponsibility in an effort to encourage more care (...) in its use. Two of our more important sub-claims are: (1) A fair judgment of genetic irresponsibility necessarily requires a thick background description of the specific reproductive choice; and (2) there is no necessary connection between an act's being morally wrong and its being irresponsible. These are distinct judgments requiring distinct justifications. (shrink)
Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations (quangos) comprise a powerful organizational sector that has been criticized for its lack of accountability to governments and their citizens. These organizations are established to serve the public as a whole by targeting the needs of particular groups or fulfilling specific functions. Often they use practices adopted from the business sector, and sometimes they enter the marketplace as profitmaking enterprises. In light of the contribution of GSE Fannie Mae to the 2008 world economic (...) crisis, the impact of this sector on effective democratic government bears further examination. In this article, I present a systems model that suggests how researchers might comprehensively assess the accountability of organizations in this sector, here termed the "gray sector," with respect to their government missions. I focus on four systems dimensions: mission, organizational design, organizational outcomes, and the information feedback process. Organizational design and the nature of the sector population are cited as emerging issues of particular importance. (shrink)
HOWARD POOLE ARGUES THAT "THERE IS A RATIONAL NECESSITY LINKING NEGATIVE ATTITUDES TO PORNOGRAPHY WITH A READINESS TO IMPOSE CENSORSHIP." HIS ARGUMENT HAS THREE PREMISES: FIRST, THAT TO CALL SOMETHING OBSCENE IS TO EXPRESS STRONG BUT OFTEN NONMORAL DISAPPROVAL; SECOND, THAT THIS STRONG DISAPPROVAL COMMITS ONE TO SEEK LEGISLATION KEEPING THE MATERIAL FROM CHILDREN; THIRD, THAT SUCH LEGISLATION IS A FORM OF CENSORSHIP. I QUESTION EACH PREMISE.
The paper describes the conceptual models used to understand the processes determining plant growth rates in response to environmental changes. A series of experiments and growth models were used at three organizational levels: the specific plant organs, the whole plant and the plant canopy. The energy conversion efficiency and the total plant carbon balance were first examined. The carbon partitioning amongst the plant parts was then studied. The energy conversion efficiency is generally understood. In modelling carbon partitioning it was first (...) necessary to establish the carbon demand for each plant organ. The carbon partitioned amongst plant organs was then calculated in two ways. The first one based on empirical data consisted in defining which organ received the carbon prior to other organs. The second one was based on the relationship between the carbon mass of specific organs and their trophic activity. This hypothesis allowed the optimization of the carbon partitioning in order to maximize the whole plant growth rate. The opportunities to use these theoretical approaches in plant growth modelling are discussed. (shrink)
This paper presents a computational model of the way humans inductively identify and aggregate concepts from the low-level stimuli they are exposed to. Based on the idea that humans tend to select the simplest structures, it implements a dynamic hierarchical chunking mechanism in which the decision whether to create a new chunk is based on an information-theoretic criterion, the Minimum Description Length (MDL) principle. We present theoretical justifications for this approach together with results of an experiment in which participants, exposed (...) to meaningless symbols, have been implicitly encouraged to create high-level concepts by grouping them. Results show that the designed model, called hereafter MDLChunker, makes precise quantitative predictions both on the kind of chunks created by the participants and also on the moment at which these creations occur. They suggest that the simplicity principle used to design MDLChunker is particularly efficient to model chunking mechanisms. The main interest of this model over existing ones is that it does not require any adjustable parameter. (shrink)
Knowledge of others, then, has value; so does immunity from being known. The ability to extend one's knowledge has value; so does the ability to limit other's knowledge of oneself. I have claimed that no interest can count as a right unless it clearly outweighs opposing interests whose presence is logically entailed. I see no way to establish that my interest in not being known, simply as such, outweighs your desire to know about me. I acknowledge the intuitive attractiveness of (...) such a position; but my earlier discussion concluded that the value of privacy is ease, and the value of knowledge is understanding - and it's not obvious that either outweighs the other. Nor is it obvious that the freedom and autonomy which result from the power to limit what others know is more significant than the freedom and autonomy which result from the power to extend one's knowledge. I believe the intuitive attractiveness of the belief that privacy values outweigh knowledge values lies in the entirely correct belief that a society without any privacy would be unpleasant. But a society without mutual knowledge would be impossible.I conclude therefore that there is no right to privacy nor to control over it. Nevertheless, each of these things is a good, and a good made possible (given the presence of other people) by social structures. A desirable society will provide both privacy and control over privacy to some extent. Nothing in my analysis helps determine what the proper extent is, nor what areas of life particularly deserve protection. Those who would argue that privacy and control over it are entailed by respect for persons should, I think, choose instead some particular areas central to being a person, to counting as a person, and then show how one is less likely to exercise one's capacities there fully without privacy or without control over it. Although Gerstein's attempt fails because he inaccurately defines intimacy as a kind of absorption and incorrectly opposes absorption with publicity, I think it is the kind of attempt which must be made. Furthermore, he has probably chosen the right area of life - if anything has a special claim to privacy it is probably the union between people who care for one another. The value of being together alone may be more significant than the value of being alone, if only because words and actions are public while thoughts are not. But I will not try to develop that argument here.In any case both privacy and control over it are social goods; on egalitarian grounds they should, ceteris paribus, be equally available to everyone. This helps explain the “dehumanizing” effect of institutions which provide no privacy at all- prisons and some mental institutions. It is not so much that the inmates are totally known; it is rather that those who know them are not so fully known by them; further, that the staff has a great deal of control over what they disclose of themselves, and the inmates very little. The asymmetry of knowledge in those institutions is one aspect of the asymmetry of power; the completely powerless are likely to feel dehumanized.My analysis also helps account for the wrongness of covert observation. It is not simply that the observer violates the wishes of the observed, for the question is whose wishes trump. The observer is violating the justified expectations of the observed: expectations supported by weighty social conventions. These have more moral weight than simple desires do. The peeping torn is violating a convention which structures the distribution of knowledge, a convention from which he benefits. Without it his own activities might well be impossible. He might be more easily caught; or his victim, less trusting, might choose houses without windows. More deeply, the thrill of what he is doing depends on the existence of the convention. Even morally permissible excitement - the suggestiveness of some clothing- would disappear without conventions about nudity. Presumably, too, there are elements of his own personal life for which he values his privacy. He is on grounds of justice obligated to observe the rule which makes his benefits possible.(Some claims to privacy result from personal predilections, rather than from convention. Parent describes a person who is extremely sensitive about being short, for instance, and does not want his exact height to be common knowledge. Parent, p. 346. The grounds for these claims are obviously different from those I've been discussing. The grounds are the moral obligation not to cause needless pain, or, if the information was given in confidence, to keep one's promises.) Although there is no right to privacy or to control over it as such, there is a right to equality of consideration and to a just distribution of benefits and burdens. To put it another way: there is no natural human right to privacy or to control over it; but a good society will provide some of each, and justice requires that the rules of a good society be observed. This paper was written during Joel Feinberg's 1984 NEH Summer Seminar. I am indebted to NEH for funding, and to Professor Feinberg and the other members of the seminar for helpful comments. (shrink)
In multicultural situations it is common for people to feel that their usual modes of coping are insufficient. They experience what is here called diversity stress. Today diversity stress is widely experienced in part because key management assumptions involving moral judgments are changing. Understanding diversity stress as a type of morality stress suggests particular patterns of causation, and of productive and counterproductive reactions on the part of individuals and organizations. – Deciding whom to appoint to a challenging new position in (...) Europe, a manager passes over an Asian employee and gives the job to a white male. He worries that there may be some prejudice in his own Judgment. – Because she wants to see more minorities in visible positions, a manager promotes a slightly less qualified minority candidate over a majority candidate, all the while feeling guilty. – A male manager hesitates to hug a longtime employee who has just lost her mother. (shrink)
Bioethicists appearing in the media have been accused of "shooting from the hip" (Rachels, 1991). The criticism is sometimes justified. We identify some reasons our interactions with the press can have bad results and suggest remedies. In particular we describe a target (fostering better public dialogue), obstacles to hitting the target (such as intrinsic and accidental defects in our knowledge) and suggest some practical ways to surmont those obstacles (including seeking out ways to write or speak at length, rather than (...) in sound bites). We make use of our own research into the way journalists quote bioethicists. We end by suggesting that the profession as a whole look into this question more fully. (shrink)
In this article we present a parameterized model for generating multimodal behavior based on cultural heuristics. To this end, a multimodal corpus analysis of human interactions in two cultures serves as the empirical basis for the modeling endeavor. Integrating the results from this empirical study with a well-established theory of cultural dimensions, it becomes feasible to generate culture-specific multimodal behavior in embodied agents by giving evidence for the cultural background of the agent. Two sample applications are presented that make use (...) of the model and are designed to be applied in the area of coaching intercultural communication. (shrink)
This article considers the origins of alphabetic writing, tracing its probable source to ancient Egypt, southern Levant or the Sinai during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (17th century BCE). It supports the view that the earliest scripts were acrophonic representations of a West-Semitic language, whose use developed under the rule of the Hyksos in Egypt but was arrested there with the expulsion of this foreign dynasty at the end of the 16th century BCE. The development is then traced through the Levant, (...) with particular attention given to the emergence of cuneiform alphabetic scripts in Ugarit (c. 1300 BCE). This form of writing disappeared with the fall of Ugarit, but linear alphabetic scripts were preserved in a variety of Near-Eastern languages, notably Aramaic and Phoenician. These two languages, by becoming linguae francae respectively of the Syria-northern Mesopotamia and the Anatolia-Eastern Mediterranean regions, brought about the spread of alphabetic writing up until the 8th century BCE. The article concludes by examining the influence of the Phoenician script on Greek, Etruscan and ultimately Latin forms of writing. (shrink)
During medical training students and residents reconstruct their view of the world. Patients become bodies; both the faults and the virtues of the medical profession become exaggerated. This reconstruction has moral relevance: it is in part a moral blindness. The pain of medical training, together with its narrowness, contributes substantially to these faulty reconstructions. Possible improvements include teaching more social science, selecting chief residents and faculty for their attitudes, helping students acquire communication skills, and helping them deal with their own (...) pain. Most importantly, clearer moral vision requires time and scope for reflection. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose a reductive account of intentions which I call a gate-based reductive account. In contrast with other reductive accounts, however, the reductive basis of this account is not limited to desires, beliefs and judgments. I suggest that an intention is a complex state in which a predominant desire toward a plan is not inhibited by a gate mechanism whose function is to assess the comparison of our desires given the stakes at hand. To vindicate this account, (...) I rely on several considerations: the similarity between epistemic feelings and the feeling of being decided that tells us that we have an intention, the necessity of postulating a gate mechanism to explain our hesitating behavior, and the tight link that exists between the realization of our actions and our desires. In agreement with non-reductivists, I nevertheless acknowledge that intentions encompass plans, although I emphasize that the planning capacity must also be dependent on our motivational life and the general evaluative mechanisms that explains our emotions. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Confronted with the , several proponents of the fitting attitude analysis of emotional values have argued in favor of an epistemic approach. In such a view, an emotion fits its object because the emotion is correct. However, I argue that we should reorient our search towards a practical approach because only practical considerations can provide a satisfying explanation of the fittingness of emotional responses. This practical approach is partially revisionist, particularly because it is no longer an analysis of final (...) value and because it is relativistic. (shrink)
In recent years the benefit corporation has emerged as a new organizational form dedicated to legitimizing the pursuit of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Eschewing traditional governmental authority, the benefit corporation derives its moral legitimacy from the values of its owners and the oversight of a third party evaluator. This research identifies the benefit corporation as a new type of gray sector organization (GSO) and applies extant theory on GSOs to analyze its design. In particular, it shows how the theory of (...) GSO accountability can be used to assess the potential of benefit corporations for enhancing CSR. This research first examines the statutes that have established benefit corporations in five states in the US, along with bills in other states, to show how legislation defines their specific public benefits and holds them accountable for delivering these benefits. It then compares the accountability of the benefit corporation with that of other corporate - centric GSOs, e.g., GSOs that closely resemble traditional corporations. It concludes with significant design-based concerns about the utility of the benefit corporation as an effective organization for implementing CSR. (shrink)