Few people think of business ethics as being addressed outside of main-stream business ethics, philosophy and corporate social responsibility circles. This view is in error. Arguably the most prominent philosopher of the last century, Ayn Rand, has provided a philosophy of business that is satisfying to many people, not the least of which is Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan. Rand’s philosophy suggests that self-interested behaviour is not merely an economic modeling of human behaviour, but an ethical imperative. To (...) professional philosophers, Rand is naïve and unsatisfying; however, that does not diminish her appeal to the less sophisticated. After a review of Rand’s great popular appeal, the article then moves on to some of the main points of her philosophy, offers a critique of those points and then encourages a more serious analysis of Rand’s philosophy, particularly for those teaching and consulting on ethics. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between the classical theistic conception of God and modal realism. I suggest that realism about possible worlds has unwelcome consequences for that conception. First, that modal realism entails the necessity of divine existence eludes explanation in a way congenial to a commitment to both modal realism and classical theism. Second, divine knowledge is dependent on worlds independent of the creative role and action of God, thereby suggesting a limitation on the nature of divine knowledge and (...) on the nature of God's creative role. Third, modal realism indicates the existence of real, albeit non-actual, worlds of appalling evil threatening the classical conception of divine omnipotence and benevolence. (Published Online July 10 2006). (shrink)
Ross Cameron has argued that the modal realism of David Lewis furnishes the theist with the resources to explain divine necessity. Cameron is successful in identifying two theistic strategies, but neither is attractive in light of a commitment to modal realism. The first theistic strategy is to treat God as an abstract entity in the same way that the modal realist treats pure sets. This is undermotivated in light of the nominalistic spirit of modal realism. The second strategy is to (...) regard God as enjoying trans-world identity because the divine nature can possess no accidental intrinsic properties. This approach raises a problem of how one is to understand the notion of actuality. (shrink)
Abstract Ontological holism is the thesis that social groups are best understood as composite material particulars. At a high level of taxonomic classification groups such as mobs, tribes and nations are the same kind of thing as organisms and artefacts. This holism is opposed by ontological individualism, which maintains that in our formal and folk social scientific discourse we only really refer to individuals and the relations in which they stand. The paper begins from the claim that ontological holism is (...) given prima facie plausibility by the apparently ineliminable role of groups in some descriptions and explanations of the social domain. If the individualist accepts the link between indispensabilty and realism, then individualism must show that groups cannot play the role the holist requires. Three arguments are considered which aim to show that groups are indeed unfitted for this ineliminable role: the appeal to reduction-in principle, the claim that groups cannot possess the causal powers attributed to them by holism, and the view that holism is committed to the attribution of mental properties to groups. Each is rejected as a basis for undermining holism. The paper concludes that this leaves holism in a position to be articulated within a framework that supports a broadly naturalist conception of the social sciences. (shrink)
[Opening paragraph:] Ontological realism or holism about social groups is the thesis that groups are composite material particulars. Social groups are entities over which we quantify in the set of our best descriptions and explanations of the social world. The realist explains that a group considered in its own right can be causally responsible for the production of events or states of affairs. We do more than just describe and furnish explanations of the phenomena of the social world. In our (...) ordinary discourse and in the arenas of policy formation, legislation and the administration of laws we make moral judgments of groups and seek to direct action toward them. Granted realism about groups the concern of the present paper is the sense in or extent to which we can talk literally of a group as such being morally responsible, and, in particular, of whether it is apt to make responsibility judgments of large groups such as nations. That is, whether a group considered as an entity in its own right can be the appropriate bearer of the full-blown ascription of moral responsibility. For when we talk of individuals being collectively responsible we seem to just pick out as the responsible party them as a group—the individual members regarded jointly or collectively as one unit. (shrink)
Asking ?What is the nature of fear??, ?How is it that fear and terror are amenable to being ?severed? or ?transcended???, and ?Why would it be advantageous to ?sever? fear??, this paper investigates the act of cutting-through fear via the Tibetan Buddhist meditative tradition known as ?gCod? (?chöd?). Through examining Mahayana philosophical notions of self and phenomena, as well as the psychological implications of subject-object reification at the heart of gCod, we elaborate on the interior cognitive and emotional dynamics of (...) gCod praxis. In order to elaborate on these contemplative dynamics, we reflect upon translated verses from one of the seminal texts of the gCod tradition, entitled The Essence of Enlightened Awareness: The Quintessence of the Profound Meaning of the Entirety of Expositions and Guidance on the Transcendent Wisdom that Cuts-Through. (shrink)
Taking ontological realism about social groups as the thesis that groups are composite material objects constituted by their members, this paper considers a challenge to the very possibility that groups be regarded as material entities. Ordinarily we believe that two groups can have synchronic co-extensive membershipsfor example, the choir and the rugby teamwhile preserving their distinctive identity conditions. We also doubt that two objects of the same kind can be in the same place at the same time, which would appear (...) to be the case when groups have identical memberships. I explain that the principle denying the synchronic co-location of objects of the same kind need not apply universally to material objects and that it is a mistake to take resistance to penetrability as a necessary feature of materiality. Therefore, initial appearances notwithstanding, groups can be in the same place at the same time. Key Words: identity materiality location social group. (shrink)
Based on the exactly solvable case of a harmonic oscillator, we show that the direct correspondence between the Bohr-Sommerfeld phase of semiclassical quantum mechanics and the topological phase of Aharonov and Anandan is restricted to the case of a coherent state. For other Gaussian wave packets the geometric quantum phase strongly depends on the amount of squeezing.
O marxismo aparece insistentemente na teologia e no magistério de Joseph Ratzinger-Bento XVI como um inimigo permanente ao qual o cristianismo deve se contrapor, sem possibilidades de conciliação entre ambos. Mas qual concepção subjaz essa rejeição tão peremptória, tão decidida? Para alcançarmos a resposta a tal questão, aprofundamos a visão de Joseph Ratzinger a partir de alguns de seus escritos teológicos (anteriores ao pontificado) e, em seguida, nas suas três encíclicas, o ponto alto de seu magistério papal ( Deus caritas (...) est, Spe salvi e Caritas in veritate ). Defendemos que a crítica de Bento XVI, antes de ser exclusivamente teológica (ou doutrinária), é filosófica, baseada na racionalidade e não na fé professada pela Igreja, que lhe permite tratar o marxismo não simplesmente como um programa político que vai contra alguns valores cristãos, mas como uma escatologia judaico-cristã secularizada, um messianismo político, portanto, como uma religião , como uma fé , que nega e esvazia o núcleo essencial da fé cristã. E aqui está a raiz da sua oposição. Palavras-chave: Marxismo. Bento XVI. Messianismo. Escatologia política.: Marxism appears repeatedly in Pope Benedict’s theology and teaching as a permanent enemy that Christianity must oppose without any possibilities of conciliation between them. However, what underlies this decisive rejection? To answer this question we look further into Joseph Ratzinger’s perspective starting with some of his theological writings (before the pontificate) followed by three of his encyclicals, the high point of his papal teaching ( Deus caritas est , Spe salvi e Caritas in veritate ). We argue that Benedict XVI's criticism, prior to being purely theological (or doctrinal), is philosophical, based on rationality and not in the faith professed by the Church, allowing him to treat marxism not simply as a political program that goes against some Christian values, but as a secularized Judeo-Christian eschatology, as a political messianism, therefore, as a religion, as a faith , that denies and empties the essential core of the Christian faith. And here is the root of his opposition. Keywords: Marxism. Benedict XVI. Messianism. Political eschatology. (shrink)
Business ethics and leadership play an increasingly important role for contemporary organizations as employers and employees search for new ways to cope with ongoing changes in organizational environments. Research attention to date has focused upon how to improve process and structural configurations, while there has been scant attention devoted to an examination of the ethical and leadership perspective. This article breaks new ground by exploring the applicability of the Rule of St. Benedict (RSB) to modern employment relationships. A significant (...) proportion of the RSB is directly relevant for today's leaders, as it contains crucial lessons dealing with leadership issues such as ethics, cultivating a consultative climate, encouraging the virtues of humility, obedience ("servant" leadership), justice, discretion, prudence, discernment, and personnel-related issues such as discipline and termination. (shrink)
O coração como atributo hagiográfico de São Benedito do Rosário: hipótese sobre a sua origem e seu modelo subjacente da vida cristã The heart as hagiographic attribute of Saint Benedict of the Rosary: hypothesis on its origin and its underpinned understanding of Christian life Neste artigo, investiga-se uma variação incomum dos atributos hagiográficos clássicos de São Benedito: o São Benedito do Rosário com coração. Procura-se explicar tanto a relativa raridade de figuras com esse atributo adicional como a sua existência. (...) Para isso, discutem-se a história das representações de São Benedito, função e exemplos da religio cordis no Brasil colonial e as características das irmandades e confrarias que veneravam São Benedito. Defende-se que as atribuições hagiográficas alternativas de São Benedito representam ênfases da fé cristã distintas com mais ou menos proximidade ao projeto da religião colonial. Conclui-se que as confrarias dos “homens ‘pretos’” não usaram preferencialmente a figura de Benedito com o Menino Jesus, mas as representações do Benedito do Rosário. Dessa forma, não enfatizaram na experiência da “união mística” como expressão máxima e propósito predileto da sua fé, mas no modelo da partilha solidária, segundo o qual a proximidade de Deus passa pela aproximação aos/às mais necessitados/as. Interpretamos o atributo do coração não como retorno para o discurso dominante da religio cordis do catolicismo colonial, mas como uma releitura crítica do discurso oficial pelas confrarias e irmandades. Palavras-chave: Benedito com Menino Jesus. Benedito do Rosário. Coração. Religio cordis. Theologia cordis. Irmandades e confrarias da Nossa Senhora do Rosário.This paper investigates an unusual variation of the classic hagiographic attributes of St. Benedict: St. Benedict of the Rosary with heart. The article tries to explain both the relative rarity of this additional attribute as its existence. The history of representations of St. Benedict is discussed and examples are given for the role and characteristics of the religio cordis for colonial Brazil within the fraternities and sororities that venerated St. Benedict. It is argued that the alternative hagiographic attributes of St. Benedict represent different emphases of the Christian faith in more or less proximity to the colonial project of religion. It is concluded that the confraternities of “‘black’ people” preferably did not use the figure of Benedict with the Jesus as a child, but the representations of Benedict of the Rosary. Thus not the experience of mystical union is emphasized as the center of their faith, but the model of shared solidarity, according to which the nearness of God is related to the proximity to those in need. We do not interpret the attribute of the heart as a return to the dominant discourse of the religio cordis of colonial Catholicism but as a critical rereading of the official discourse by the fraternities and sororities. Keywords: Benedict with Jesus as a child. St. Benedict of the Rosary. Religio cordis . Theologia cordis . Brotherhoods and confraternities of Our Lady of the Rosary. (shrink)
Paul Sheehy has argued that the modal realist cannot satisfactorily allow for the necessity of God's existence. In this short paper I show that she can, and that Sheehy only sees a problem because he has failed to appreciate all the resources available to the modal realist. God may be an abstract existent outside spacetime or He may not be: but either way, there is no problem for the modal realist to admit that He exists at every concrete (...) possible world. (shrink)
In articulating a theological account of Christian hope faithful to its objective character, Pope Benedict XVI summons the authority of Thomas Aquinas, citing his comments on faith and hope as those terms occur in Hebrews 11:1. Benedict sets off Aquinas's understanding of hope-filled faith's objectivity by placing it in contrast with Luther's apparently more subjective interpretation of faith in Hebrews 11:1 as conviction. Closer analysis of both Aquinas and Luther, however, suggests a greater overlap in their exegetical conclusions, (...) opening the way for a more nuanced appreciation of a virtue whose living possession and exercise, as the rest of Spe Salvi confirms, involves both objective and subjective dimensions. (shrink)
In philosophy textbooks for undergraduates the cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict is often cited as a proponent of moral relativism, and her writings are not infrequently excerpted to illustrate the view that the individual’s moral values are culturally determined. Because Benedict established that significant differences can exist in the underlying cultural patterns of different societies, her work is commonly construed as providing evidence for the arbitrary and non-rational basis of morals. The author of the present essay argues that this (...) popular reading of Benedict is mistaken. He draws a distinction between two different forms of moral relativism—the objective and the subjective—and then contends that Benedict is widely viewed as a subjective relativist when in fact her relativism was of the objective variety. He shows that her position actually has much in common with the pragmatic meliorism of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. (shrink)
PaulSheehy has argued that the modal realist cannot satisfactorily allow for the necessity of God’s existence. In this short paper I show that she can, and that Sheehy only sees a problem because he has failed to appreciate all the resources available to the modal realist. God may be an abstract existent outside spacetime or He may not be: but either way, there is no problem for the modal realist to admit that He exists at every (...) concrete possible world. (shrink)
A Kantian beginning : Georg Hermes -- A Catholic Hegel? Anton Günther -- The response of fideism : Louis Bautain -- Magisterial interventions : Gregory XVI and Pius IX -- Return to the schoolmen : Joseph Kleutgen and Leo XIII -- Embodying the Leonine project : Etienne Gilson -- The philosophy of action : Maurice Blondel -- The dispute over apologetics : from Blondel to Balthasar -- A synthetic outcome? John Paul II's letter Fides et ratio -- From Cracow to (...) Regensburg : Benedict XVI. (shrink)
Lam, Joseph The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI caught the world by surprise, in spite the fact that he had earlier indicated this possibility. In a series of interviews that were published in 2011 as a book by the German journalist Peter Seewald, Benedict clearly stated: If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an (...) obligation to resign. (shrink)
Stollenwerk, Daniel J In this essay on the social encyclical Caritas in Veritate, the author looks at Pope Benedict XVI's defense of reason in an age that has lost its faith in reason. Benedict insists we are faced with a choice between being closed within immanence - which leads to an irrational rejection of meaning and value - or open to reason that leads to the transcendent. Pope Benedict, the author concludes, is a contemporary apologist, claiming that (...) Christianity is not only the most reasonable of worldviews, but also necessary for the very survival of humanity. (shrink)
Engineers make an enormous contribution to promoting the wellbeing of individuals and the communities in which they live, but engineering may also give rise to adverse consequences. Engineering therefore requires ethical awareness, and professional engineers often use ethical codes to guide their actions. The content of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s authoritative Statement of Ethical Principles is discussed and compared to the paradigmatic Rule of St Benedict. This leads to suggestions for the development of an enriched code for engineering (...) that considers not only what actions are desirable but also how and why they should be carried out. Issues arising in the formulation of an enriched code acceptable also to those of no explicit faith or of other faiths are considered. It is suggested that the development of enriched professional codes is a general and strategically important challenge for theological ethics. (shrink)
Lucas, Brian Review(s) of: Pope benedict XVI and the sexual abuse crisis - working for reform and renewal, Gregory Erlandson and Matthew Bunson, (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2010), pb, pp.207.
In this paper I examine the sixth century ’Rule of St. Benedict’, and argue that the authority structure of Benedictine communities as described in that document satisfies well-known principles of authority defended by Joseph Raz. This should lead us to doubt the common assumption that premodern models of authority violate the modern ideal of the autonomy of the self. I suggest that what distinguishes modern liberal authority from Benedictine authority is not the principles that justify it, but rather the (...) first-order beliefs for the sake of which authority is sought by the individual, and the degree of trust between the authority and the subject. (shrink)
In a beautiful recent essay, the philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong explains the reasons for his departure from evangelical Christianity, the religious culture in which he was brought up. Sinnot-Armstrong contrasts the interpretive methods used by good philosophers and fundamentalist believers: Good philosophers face objections and uncertainties. They follow where arguments lead, even when their conclusions are surprising and disturbing. Intellectual honesty is also required of scholars who interpret philosophical texts. If I had distorted Kant’s view to make him reach a conclusion (...) that I preferred, then my philosophy professor would have failed me. The contrast with religious reasoning is stark. My Christian friends seemed happy to hide serious problems in the Bible and in their arguments. They preferred comfort to intellectual honesty. I couldn’t. To what extent can we, historians of philosophy, claim the virtue of intellectual honesty? Speaking frankly, I do not find the practice criticized by Sinnot-Armstrong’s philosophy professor rare or unusual at all. We very frequently distort the views of past philosophers in order to reach the conclusions we prefer. We just call it “Charitable Interpretation.” In this essay, I discuss and criticize the logic behind so-called charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy. This phenomenon is ubiquitous and is not at all restricted to a particular philosophical strand or ideology. Analytic philosophers and post-modernists, Marxists, liberals, secularists, and fundamentalists, we all engage in the very same domestication project. Even more disturbing than the sheer ideological pervasiveness of this phenomenon is the fact that, on many occasions, superb philosophers and historians take part in this fairly childish endeavor. In the first part of this essay, I discuss the general logic of charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy, mostly by addressing discussions in metaphysics and epistemology. In the second part, I focus on the somewhat less noticed use of charitable interpretations in the study of political philosophy, and point out the quintessential role ideology plays in these discussions. In both parts, I concentrate mostly on the interpretation of Spinoza’s thought. I do so not because I have special fondness for Spinoza (“guilty as charged,” I admit), but because Spinoza is such a beast (and may I add, an enchanting beast) and attracts a disproportionate share of the domestication efforts from historians and philosophers of all creeds and persuasions. In the third and final part of the paper, I will begin to outline an alternative methodology, which suggests that past philosophers can be most relevant to our current philosophical discussion, to the extent that they provide us with well-motivated challenges to our common-sense beliefs. Such challenges have the invaluable virtue of being able to undermine our most fundamental and secure beliefs, and force us to engage with the most fundamental questions. What more can we expect from good philosophy? (shrink)
This paper discusses a nowadays completely forgotten 18th century attempt of constructing an artificial universal language in a Kantian framework. I give a brief sketch of this language and then address the continuing philosophical significance of the project, focusing in particular on the notions of predication and the copula and on the problem of psychologism.