Victorian physics meets industrial capitalism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9554-0 Authors Bruce J. Hunt, History Department, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station B7000, Austin, TX 78712-0220, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Frankfurt cases are purported counterexamples to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, which implies that we are not morally responsible for unavoidable actions. A major permutation of the counterexample strategy features buffered alternatives; this permutation is designed to overcome an influential defense of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. Here we defend the buffering strategy against two recent objections, both of which stress the timing of an agent’s decision. We argue that attributions of moral responsibility aren’t time-sensitive in the way the objectors (...) suppose. We then turn to the crucial question of when an action is relevantly avoidable—when, in the parlance of the literature, an alternative possibility is robust. We call attention to two plausible tests for robustness that merit further consideration, showing that the agents in buffered Frankfurt cases don’t pass these tests, despite being morally responsible for their actions. (shrink)
Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Practices: Process and Criteria for Evaluating Adaptations of Norms and Standards in Health Care Institutions Content Type Journal Article Pages 327-339 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9115-8 Authors Matthew R. Hunt, McMaster University Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Montreal Canada Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 4.
Cloning Human Embryos for Spare Tissue An Ethical Dilemma Content Type Journal Article Pages 22-23 Authors Donald Bruce, Religion and Technology Project, Church of Scotland, John Knox House, 45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR, Scotland Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2 / 2002.
The Tractatus de Anima of John Blund was a discovery of Father Daniel Callus, but he did not live to complete the edition. The treatise was written c. 1200, and is the earliest known philosophical work by an Oxford Master. It grafts the new learning derived from Avicenna and Aristotle onto older stocks. Its great interest is that it enables us to study the way in which the first generation of scholars used the translations of Greek and Arabic philosophical and (...) scientific texts which had just become available in Western Europe. The edition was completed by Dr R. W. Hunt, Keeper of Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. (shrink)
Lester Hunt reviews Tara Smith's Viable Values: A Study of the Root and Reward of Morality. He finds it an excellent contribution to the ongoing discussion of Objectivist ethics. Especially noteworthy, he says, are Smith's treatment of the concept of intrinsic value, her use of the concept of flourishing, and her treatment of the relations between the interests of different people. Though the book provides no sustained discussion of casuistical applications, epistemological assumptions, or potentially interesting side-issues, it raises many (...) provocative questions that will fuel further debate. (shrink)
Lester Hunt argues that, despite its being too narrow in the topics it treats, Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi's What Art Is offers a fascinating account of Ayn Rand's views on art and, in addition, constitutes a major contribution to Objectivist aesthetics.
The principle of alternate possibilities (PAP), making the ability to do otherwise a necessary condition for moral responsibility, is supposed by Harry Frankfurt, John Fischer, and others to succumb to a peculiar kind of counterexample. The paper reviews the main problems with the counterexample that have surfaced over the years, and shows how most can be addressed within the terms of the current debate. But one problem seems ineliminable: because Frankfurt''s example relies on a counterfactual intervener to preclude alternatives to (...) the person''s action, it is not possible for it to preclude all alternatives (intervention that is contingent upon a trigger cannot bring it about that the trigger never occurred). This makes it possible for the determined PAPist to maintain that some pre-intervention deviation is always available to ground moral responsibility.In reply, the critic of PAP can examine all the candidate deviations and argue their irrelevance to moral responsibility (a daunting prospect); or the critic can dispense with counterfactual intervention altogether. The paper pursues the second of these strategies, developing three examples of noncounterfactual intervention in which (i) the agent has no alternatives (and a fortiori no morally relevant alternatives), yet (ii) there is just as much reason to think that the agent is morally responsible as there was in Frankfurt''s original example. The new counterexamples do suffer from one liability, but this is insufficient in the end to repair PAP''s conceptual connection between moral responsibility and alternate possibilities. (shrink)
In a number of earlier papers I have attempted to defend the providential utility of simple foreknowledge as a via media between the accounts of divine providence offered by Molinists, on the one hand, and ‘open theists’, on the other. In the current issue of this journal, Michael Robinson argues that my response to one of the standard difficulties for simple foreknowledge – that its providential employment would generate explanatory loops – is inadequate. In the following paper I answer Robinson's (...) charge. (shrink)
Teaching ethics poses a dilemma for professors of business. First, they have little or no formal training in ethics. Second, they have established ethical values that they may not want to impose upon their students. What is needed is a well-recognized, yet non-sectarian model to facilitate the clarification of ethical questions. Gestalt theory offers such a framework. Four Gestalt principles facilitate ethical clarification and another four Gestalt principles anesthetize ethical clarification. This article examines each principle, illustrates that principle through current (...) business examples, and offers exercises for developing each principle. (shrink)
Kenneth Goodpaster has criticized ethicists like Feinberg and Frankena for too narrowly circumscribing the range of moral considerability, urging instead that “nothing short of the condition of being alive” is a satisfactory criterion. Goodpaster overlooks at least one crucial objection: that his own “condition of being alive” may aIso be too narrow a criterion of moral considerability, since “being in existence” is at least as plausible and nonarbitrary a criterion as is Goodpaster’s. I show that each of the arguments that (...) Goodpaster musters in support of his criterion can be used equally weIl to bolster “being in existence” as a test of moral considerability. Moreover, I argue that “being in existence” appears to be a stronger criterion overall, since it is broader. Until or unless a fuller justification is forthcoming of “being alive” as a satisfactory criterion of moral considerability-a justification which must demonstrate that “mere things,” included under the condition of “being in existence,” do not deserve moral consideration--Goodpaster’sthesis is confronted with a serious problem. (shrink)
The authors empirically examine the nature and extent of ethical problems confronting senior level AICPA members (CPAs) and examine the effectiveness of partner actions and codes of ethics in reducing ethical problems. The results indicate that the most difficult ethical problems (frequency reported) were: client requests to alter tax returns and commit tax fraud, conflict of interest and independence, client requests to alter financial statements, personal-professional problems, and fee problems. Analysis of attitudes toward ethics in the accounting profession indicated that (...) (1) CPAs perceive that opportunities exist in the accounting profession to engage in unethical behavior, (2) CPAs, in general, do not believe that unethical behavior leads to success, and (3) when top management (partners) reprimand unethical behavior, the ethical problems perceived by CPAs seem to be reduced. (shrink)
Ian Carter argues against what he calls the ?specific freedom thesis?, which claims that in asking whether our society or any individual is free, all we need or can intelligibly concern ourselves with is their freedom to do this or that specific thing. Carter claims that issues of overall freedom are politically and morally important and that, in valuing freedom as such, liberals should be committed to a measure of freedom overall. This paper argues against Carter?s further claim that rejection (...) of the specific freedom thesis requires rejection of morally based determinations of degrees of overall freedom. Using a concept of freedom as a capacity to pursue one?s interests, it is argued that the value of freedom overall is not reducible to the value of specific freedoms, and that conditions of action can be determined as constraints only within the context of their impact on freedom overall. Taking the case of coercive proposals, it is argued that we must evaluate the morality of the circumstances in which conditional proposals are made if we are to weigh the opportunities and constraints contained in the proposal to determine whether its recipient suffers a loss of overall freedom. We must therefore appeal to values other than that of liberty itself to determine degrees of liberty overall, which we require in turn to determine whether threats or offers are coercive. (shrink)
In Poetic Justice Martha Nussbaum undertakes to explain how “story-telling and literary imagining” can supply “essential ingredients in a rational argument” and thereby improve public discourse regarding important ethical, political, and legal issues.
Book Information Hegel's Idea of Freedom. Hegel's Idea of Freedom Alan Patten Oxford University Press 1999 xiii + 216 Hardback £30 By Alan Patten. Oxford University Press. Pp. xiii + 216. Hardback:£30.
Although previous ethical analyses of management buyouts have presented useful insights, they have been flawed in three major ways. First, they define the transaction too narrowly, emphasizing the going private aspect and ignoring the leveraged aspect. Leveraging alters the nature of the transaction substantially and warrants additional ethical analysis. Second, these previous analyses ignore the impact of buyouts on non-stockholder constituents of the firm, an omission which renders their implicit utilitarian approach incomplete. Third, these analyses do not include Rawlsian, libertarian, (...) or Kantian perspectives on ethics. This paper addresses these shortcomings and finds the ethical status of leveraged management buyouts to be highly suspect. (shrink)
Can mystics intuit something of what modern physicists calculate? And if so, how? The question of the relation between the classical mysticisms and modern science is approached in Part I in terms of the multiple forms and definitions of 'truth value'. Intuition/epiphany, pragmatism, coherence, and correspondence are considered as forms of truth that have also been proposed for unitive mystical experience. Since 'correspondence' or 'representation' has been the definition at the core of modern science, it in particular is approached by (...) combining Lakoff and Johnson on the roots of all abstract knowledge in physical metaphor and Gibson on the ecological array of perception as the template from which such metaphors must be drawn. A series of similarities between the maximally inclusive metaphors underlying unitive mystical experience and cosmological physics, as abstracted from an ecological array already resonant with multiple levels of physical reality, suggests a basis for the correspondence between these otherwise distinct cognitive domains. Part II extends this approach to widely posited cross cultural values of spiritual or mystical realization, in terms of gratitude, compassion, faith, and inner freedom. When fully embodied as forms of personal conduct, these are also ultimately derivable from the openness and flow patternings of the ecological array itself. The possibility that the more abstract spiritual values of the major world mysticisms exemplify not only revelatory and pragmatic forms of truth, but are also broadly correspondent with both the principles of immediate concrete perception and modern physics, may eventually allow a contemporary re- formulation of the microcosm-macrocosm unities basic to traditional cultures. (shrink)
Health professionals are involved in humanitarian assistance and development work in many regions of the world. They participate in primary health care, immunization campaigns, clinic- and hospital-based care, rehabilitation and feeding programs. In the course of this work, clinicians are frequently exposed to complex ethical issues. This paper examines how health workers experience ethics in the course of humanitarian assistance and development work. A qualitative study was conducted to consider this question. Five core themes emerged from the data, including: tension (...) between respecting local customs and imposing values; obstacles to providing adequate care; differing understandings of health and illness; questions of identity for health workers; and issues of trust and distrust. Recommendations are made for organizational strategies that could help aid agencies support and equip their staff as they respond to ethical issues. (shrink)
Future technological developmentsconcerning food, agriculture, and theenvironment face a gulf of social legitimationfrom a skeptical public and media, in the wakeof the crises of BSE, GM food, and foot andmouth disease in the UK (House of Lords, 2000). Keyethical issues were ignored by the bioindustry,regulators, and the Government, leaving alegacy of distrust. The paper examinesagricultural biotechnology in terms of a socialcontract, whose conditions would have to be fulfilled togain acceptance of novel applications. Variouscurrent and future GM applications areevaluated against these (...) conditions. Successwould depend critically on how far a sharedvision can be found with the public. Tore-establish trust, significant changes areidentified in the planning and pursuit ofbiotechnology. (shrink)
I sometimes entertain my non-academic friends by telling them that, at the end of each course I teach, before I compute my students’ grades, I pause nervously while I wait to be graded by my students. This process can be described less paradoxically, but surely no more truthfully, as follows. In my department, and as far as I know all the departments at my university, each course ends with students anonymously filling out forms in which they evaluate the teacher and (...) the course. The form includes several questions in which the student is asked to rate the teacher in various respects (such as clarity and organization, availability outside the classroom, and so forth) along a numbered scale (in our case, from one to five); they are also asked one very general question in which they are told to rate the instructor’s overall effectiveness. They are also invited to write comments on these matters. Mean scores (in effect, grades) are calculated for each question and published by the university. In addition, these student evaluations of teaching (often called SETs for short) are used each year by the committee that decides merit pay increases for faculty. When the faculty member is being considered for advancement to tenure or promotion to the rank of Full Professor, these evaluation forms are supplemented by faculty evaluation of teaching, in which faculty members visit the candidate’s classes and report on her or his effectiveness as a teacher. Except for these two once-in-a-lifetime events, the student evaluation forms are the only way in which we judge the quality of teaching. In other words, teaching is for the most part evaluated by students and not by faculty. (shrink)
Brian Ellis has argued that the assigning of forces is, in the final analysis, a matter of convention. This conclusion is backed by the premises (1) that forces and force-effects are necessary and sufficient for each other, and (2) that the classification of some state of affairs as a force-effect is at least partly conventional. We argue that the first premise is false, that the second premise is ambiguous as between several senses of "conventional," and finally that he has not (...) established that force-effects are conventional in the sense required for the conclusion he wishes to draw. (shrink)
Although a number of articles have addressed ethical perceptions and behaviors, few studies have examined ethics across cultures. This research focuses on measuring the job satisfaction, customer orientation, ethics, and ethical training of automotive salespersons in the U.S. and Taiwan. The relationships of these variables to salesperson performance were also investigated. Ethics training was found to be negatively related to perceived levels of ethicalness and performance. High performance U.S. salespeople reported high ethical behavior, while the opposite was true in Taiwan. (...) Customer orientation in both countries was influenced by ethics training. Managers should evaluate current ethics training programs to insure correct ethical behavior is taught and rewarded. (shrink)
Nietzsche and the Origin of Virtue : This book is a discussion of Nietzsche's ethical and political ideas. It is an attempt to be both scholarly and, in a sense, activist. The ultimate point is to see how believers in liberal democracy (like me and most of my readers) should respond to the challenge that Nietzsche represents. As with any profound challenge, one is never the same again after it is overcome. In particular, I suggest that liberals can learn something (...) very important from the ideas that grow out of Nietzsche's early discussion of Homer's notion of agon or Wettkampf (roughly, conflict or competition). (shrink)
The interrelationships among a number of variables and their effect on ethical decision making was explored. Teams of students and managers participated in a competitive management simulation. Based on prior research, the effects of performance, environmental change, team age, and type of team on the level of ethical behavior were hypothesized. The findings indicate that multiple variables may interact in such a fashion that significance is lost.