This case study focuses on Roger Boisjoly's attempt to prevent the launch of the Challenger and subsequent quest to set the record straight despite negative consequences. Boisjoly's experiences before and after the Challenger disaster raise numerous ethical issues that are integral to any explanation of the disaster and applicable to other management situations. Underlying all these issues, however, is the problematic relationship between individual and organizational responsibility. In analyzing this fundamental issue, this paper has two objectives: first, to demonstrate the (...) extent to which the ethical ambiguity that permeates the relationship between individual and organizational responsibility contributed to the Challenger disaster; second, to reclaim the meaning and importance of individual responsibility within the diluting context of large organizations. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the view that a zygote is a human from the fission objection that is widely thought to be decisive against the view. I do so, drawing upon a recent discussion of this issue by John Burgess, by explaining in detail the metaphysical position the proponent of the view should adopt in order to rebut the objection.
Eschewing conventional candidates, like Plato's Republic or Machiavelli's Prince, Richard Rorty praises Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as "the best introduction to political philosophy," because it shows us "what sort of human future would be produced by a naturalism untempered by historicist Romanticism, and by a politics aimed merely at alleviating mammalian pain."1 Huxley's celebrated dystopia is thus a poignant warning to our modern utilitarian political projects. Yet Rorty also suggests that utopian literature can play a positive and inspirational role (...) for liberal politics, and even dubs his own political ideal, "liberal utopia." Rorty's liberal utopia is not an impossible society bereft of political .. (shrink)
Individual differences in ethical ideology are believed to play a key role in ethical decision making. Forsyths (1980) Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) is designed to measure ethical ideology along two dimensions, relativism and idealism. This study extends the work of Forsyth by examining the construct validity of the EPQ. Confirmatory factor analyses conducted with independent samples indicated three factors – idealism, relativism, and veracity – account for the relationships among EPQ items. In order to provide further evidence of the instruments (...) nomological and convergent validity, correlations among the EPQ subscales, dogmatism, empathy, and individual differences in the use of moral rationales were examined. The relationship between EPQ measures of idealism and moral judgments demonstrated modest predictive validity, but the appreciably weaker influence of relativism and the emergence of a veracity factor raise questions about the utility of the EPQ typology. (shrink)
Recent empirical work on the concept of intentionality suggests that people’s assessments of whether an action is intentional are subject to uncertainty. Some researchers have gone so far as to claim that different people employ different concepts of intentional action. These possibilities have motivated a good deal of work in the relatively new ﬁeld of experimental philosophy. The ﬁndings from this empirical research may prove to be relevant to medical ethics. -/- In this article, we address this issue head on. (...) We ﬁrst describe a study we conducted on intention ascription. Drawing on recent work in experimental philosophy, we investigated the possibility that the ascription of intentions to clinical actors in clinical settings is inﬂuenced by prior judgments about the goodness or badness of the consequences of the action in question. Our study was modeled on experimental studies in other contexts that have shown that people, when presented with a range of scenarios, are more likely to classify a side effect of an action as intended if the side effect is negative or reﬂects poorly on the actor than if it is positive or reﬂects well on the actor. We investigated whether this asymmetry in intention ascriptions was also present among physicians who were asked to ascribe intentions to clinical actors in certain well-deﬁned clinical scenarios. After describing the study and its results, we discuss its implications for medical ethics. (shrink)
Sciences able to identify appropriate analytical units for their domain, their natural kinds, have tended to be more progressive. In the biological sciences, evolutionary natural kinds are adaptations that can be identified by their common history of selection for some function. Human brains are the product of an evolutionary history of selection for component systems which produced behaviours that gave adaptive advantage to their hosts. These structures, behaviour production systems, are the natural kinds that psychology seeks. We argue these can (...) be identified deductively by classing behaviour first according to its level of behavioural control. Early animals in our lineage used only reactive production, Vertebrates evolved motivation, and later Primates developed executive control. Behaviour can also be classified by the type of evolutionary benefit it bestows: it can deliver either immediate benefits (food, gametes), improvements in the individual’s position with respect to the world (resource access, social status), or improvements in the ability to secure future benefits (knowledge, skill). Combining history and function implies the existence of seven types of behaviour production systems in human brains responsible for reflexive, instinctual, exploratory, driven, emotional, playful and planned behaviour. Discovering scientifically valid categories of behaviour can provide a fundamental taxonomy and common language for understanding, predicting and changing behaviour, and a way of discovering the organs in the brain––its natural kinds––that are responsible for behaviour. (shrink)
In this article I reply to Thomas Schramme's argument that there are no good reasons for the prohibition of severe forms of voluntary non-therapeutic body modification. I argue that on paternalistic assumptions there is, in fact, a perfectly good reason.
We employ a Layers of Workplace Influence theory to guide our study of whistleblowing among public accounting audit seniors. Specifically, we examine professional commitment, organizational commitment versus colleague commitment (locus of commitment), and moral intensity of the unethical behavior on two measures of reporting intentions: likelihood of reporting and perseverance in reporting. We find that moral intensity relates to both reporting intention measures. In addition, while high levels of professional identity increase the likelihood that an auditor will initially report an (...) observed violation, the auditor's commitment to the organization drives perseverance in reporting. Results may assist organizations and researchers in their understanding of antecedents to whistleblowing as a form of corporate governance and of the effect of these antecedents on whistleblowing perseverance. (shrink)
A core value of Judaism is leading an ethical life. The Talmud, an authoritative source on Jewish law and tradition, has a number of discussions that deal with honesty in business and decision-making. One motive that can cause individuals to be unscrupulous is the presence of a conflict of interest. This paper will define, discuss, and review five Talmudic concepts relevant to conflict of interest. They are (1) Nogea B’Davar (being an interested party), (2) V’hiyitem N’keyim (behaving to ensure that (...) one is above suspicion) (3) Lifnei Iver (placing a stumbling block before the blind), (4) Shokhad (accepting a bribe), and (5) Geneivat Da’at (deception and undeserved goodwill). Case examples will be used to apply these Talmudic principles to contemporary business practice. This will include discussion of these Talmudic concepts as it applies to specific contemporary business examples relevant to the boardroom, accounting firms, investment banking, politics, and government. It may be impossible to eliminate all conflicts of interest. However, knowledge and awareness of these Talmudic principles can help individuals in business settings better address the ethical issues that they confront. (shrink)
Recent financial fraud legislation such as the Dodd–Frank Act and the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (U.S. House of Representatives, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, [H.R. 4173], 2010 ; U.S. House of Representatives, The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, Public Law 107-204 [H.R. 3763], 2002 ) relies heavily on whistleblowers for enforcement, and offers protection and incentives for whistleblowers. However, little is known about many aspects of the whistleblowing decision, especially the effects of contextual and wrongdoing attributes on organizational (...) members’ willingness to report fraud. We extend the ethics literature by experimentally investigating how the nature of the wrongdoing and the awareness of those surrounding the whistleblower can influence whistleblowing. As predicted, we find that employees are less likely to report: (1) financial statement fraud than theft; (2) immaterial than material financial statement fraud; (3) when the wrongdoer is aware that the potential whistleblower has knowledge of the fraud; and (4) when others in addition to the wrongdoer are not aware of the fraud. Our findings extend whistleblowing research in several ways. For instance, prior research provides little evidence concerning the effects of fraud type, wrongdoer awareness, and others’ awareness on whistleblowing intentions. We also provide evidence that whistleblowing settings represent an exception to the well-accepted theory of diffusion of responsibility. Our participants are professionals who represent the likely pool of potential whistleblowers in organizations. (shrink)
Dynamic systems theory is a way of describing the patterns that emerge from relationships in the universe. In the study of interpersonal relationships, within and between species, the scientist is an active and engaged participant in those relationships. Separation between self and other, scientist and subject, runs counter to systems thinking and creates an unnecessary divide between humans and animals.
Historians should not use their own up-to-date methodologies to judge the rationality or correctness of the research strategies of scientists in history. For the history of science is, in part, the history of the rational growth of methodology and the historian's own up-to-date methodology is, in part, a product of the scientific revolutions of the past. Historians who use their own methodologies to judge the rationality of past research strategies are being too wise after the event. I show, using the (...) case of Charles Darwin, how we can judge the rationality and correctness of research strategies and revolutions without being too wise after the event. I do this by rejecting the idea that methodologies double as rationality theories and by drawing instead on Popper's competing view of rationality as critical debate. (shrink)
William Whewell tried to explain how scientific knowledge of necessary and certain truth was possible by tracing it to ideas that arose not out of experience but had an independent origin in the mind. Although Whewell has generally been regarded as an a priorist in some sense and as a proponent of hypothetico-deductivism, Snyder tries to show that he can be assimilated to the twentieth-century inductivist mainstream. She fails to make her case, however, in part because she fails to pay (...) sufficient attention to Whewell’s insistence that scientific discovery is beyond the reach of method and always involves happy guesses. (shrink)
In their effort to emphasize the positive role of nature in our lives, environmental thinkers have tended to downplay or even to ignore the negative aspects of our experience with nature and, even when acknowledging them, have had little to offer by way of psychologically and spiritually productive ways of dealing with them. The idea that the experience of value begins with the experience of existential shame—arising from awareness of the limitations that define the self—needs to be explored. The primary (...) purpose of the “technologies of the imagination”—myth, symbol, ritual and the arts—is to provide a passage through this shame to the experience of values such as community, meaning, beauty, and the sacred and, through these experiences, to inscribe them into conscience. The implications of this idea for environmental thinking and practice can be explored in two areas involving strong engagement with nature: ecological restoration and the production and eating of food. An environmentalism that fails to provide productive ways of dealing with existential shame may well prove inadequate to the task of providing means for achieving a healthy, sustainable relationship between humans and the rest of nature. (shrink)
This study explores the impact of mood on individuals’ ethical decision-making processes through the Graham [Graham, J. W.: 1986, Research in Organizational Behavior 8, 1–52] model of Principled Organizational Dissent. In particular, the research addresses how an individual’s mood influences his or her willingness to report the unethical actions of a colleague. Participants’ experienced an affectively charged, unrelated event and were then asked to make a decision regarding whistle-blowing intentions in a public accounting context. As expected, negative mood was associated (...) with lower intentions to report the unethical actions of others to a superior within the organization. The Graham model, which proposes that reporting intentions are impacted by the three determinants of seriousness, personal responsibility and cost, was employed to more clearly understand the nature of the affect–reporting intention relationship. The role of affect was explained by demonstrating that two determinants mediate the relationship between mood and whistle-blowing intentions. Specifically, as seriousness and responsibility have a positive impact on reporting intentions, the reduction of these perceptions by negative mood reduces the intent to report. The negative impact of personal cost on reporting intentions was significant, although not as a mediator of mood. (shrink)
An attempt to discover a guiding principle in public affairs.--An attempt to show how the past has led to the present position in world affairs.--An attempt to apply the guiding principle suggested in book I to the world position as stated in book II.
Relationships between men and women can change rapidly, yet simultaneously can resist change. This paradox is addressed by a theory of social organization in the "personality and social structure" tradition, which attempts to explain what aspects of gender relations change most readily and what aspects are most resistant to change, in terms of 1) institutional models of organization and 2) the contrasting ways in which status and role affect identity. Changes in gender relations appear first in the public sphere, but (...) are more likely to persist if they are institutionalized in both public and domestic spheres, and are embodied in identities. (shrink)
Background: The intentions of clinicians are widely considered to be relevant to the ethical assessment of their actions. A better understanding of the psychological factors that influence the ascription of intentions in clinical practice is important for improving the self-understanding of clinical decision-making and, ultimately, the ethics of clinical care. Drawing on empirical research on intentionality that has been done in other contexts, this is the first study to test whether the “asymmetric effect” of intention ascription is exhibited by respondents (...) when presented with clinical decision-making scenarios. Objective: To assess how individuals attribute intentions to clinical actors in clinical decision-making scenarios. Methods: A total of 149 first and second year medical students was randomly assigned to two groups (group A, group B). Subjects in each group read two scenarios and submitted anonymous responses to questions regarding each scenario. Results: The asymmetric effect was strongly exhibited by the responses given to scenario 2, but it was not exhibited by the responses given to scenario 1. Conclusion: The present study provided evidence for the view that people’s ascription of intentions to others is influenced by their previous evaluative judgement of the conduct in question. (shrink)