Moral concern with food intake is as old asmorality itself. In the course of history, however,several ways of critically examining practices of foodproduction and food intake have been developed.Whereas ancient Greek food ethics concentrated on theproblem of temperance, and ancient Jewish ethics onthe distinction between legitimate and illicit foodproducts, early Christian morality simply refused toattach any moral significance to food intake. Yet,during the middle ages food became one of theprinciple objects of monastic programs for moralexercise (askesis). During (...) the seventeenth andeighteenth century, food ethics was transformed interms of the increasing scientific interest in foodintake, while in the nineteenth century the socialdimension of food ethics was discovered, with theresult that more and more attention was given to theproduction and distribution of food products. Becauseof the increasing distance between the production andconsumption of food products ever since, theoutstanding feature of contemporary food ethics is itreliance and dependence on labeling practices. (shrink)
The history of corporations in the United States (U.S.) is much older than the country, as it must be understood in the context of the history of peoples of Europe who eventually dominated the North American continent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These European settlers came, in part, to achieve economic prosperity for themselves and, in many cases, for early forerunners of the modern corporation. These business organizations had predecessors in Europe millennia earlier as ancient Romans had (...) developed a functional and successful form of corporation for the purpose of conducting commerce in the Roman Empire. In the decades that followed the founding of the U.S. in 1776, corporations evolved from rare, small, closely controlled business organizations with a multitude of restrictions to very large, very powerful modern institutions that enjoy many of the legal rights of humans. With this evolution came ethical issues, as (1) the ethical distance was altered between corporate decision-makers and those affected by those decisions, and (2) many of the legal rights of individual humans were extended, through litigation, to corporations. This article explains the historical development of the U.S. corporation and identifies 20 Critical Events in the Ethics of Corporation History (CEECH). An understanding of these historical events may facilitate comprehension of many of the current ethical issues associated with a legal organizational form that profoundly affects business and society. (shrink)
Typically people make ethical judgments with reference to unchanging principles, standards, rights, and values. This essay argues that such an ahistorical approach to ethics should be supplemented by a due regard for history. Invoking precedents by authors such as Jonsen and Toulmin, McIntyre, Niebuhr, Weber, De Tocqueville, Machiavelli and others, this essay explores several important ways in which a due regard for history can and should shape the practice of business ethics. Thus a due regard for (...)history helps us both to cultivate fitting appreciation of cultural mores and to understand how current problems and issues have developed as they have; it helps us to gauge current responsibilities with respect legacies of problems inherited from the past; it helps us to develop a lively sense of what is possible in the present, given current contingencies and past experiences; and it moves us to rethink the practice of ethical auditing: not just as a backward-looking effort to gauge compliance but as a forward-looking way of learning from actual experiences and developing fitting responses. (shrink)
A physician says, "I have an ethical obligation never to cause the death of a patient," another responds, "My ethical obligation is to relieve pain even if the patient dies." The current argument over the role of physicians in assisting patients to die constantly refers to the ethical duties of the profession. References to the Hippocratic Oath are often heard. Many modern problems, from assisted suicide to accessible health care, raise questions about the traditional ethics of medicine and the (...) medical profession. However, few know what the traditional ethics are and how they came into being. This book provides a brief tour of the complex story of medical ethics evolved over centuries in both Western and Eastern culture. It sets this story in the social and cultural contexts in which the work of healing was practiced and suggests that, behind the many different perceptions about the ethical duties of physicians, certain themes appear constantly, and may be relevant to modern debates. The book begins with the Hippocratic medicine of ancient Greece, moves through the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment in Europe, and the long history of Indian and Chinese medicine, ending as the problems raised modern medical science and technology challenge the settled ethics of the long tradition. (shrink)
The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics is the first comprehensive scholarly account of the global history of medical ethics. Offering original interpretations of the field by leading bioethicists and historians of medicine, it will serve as the essential point of departure for future scholarship in the field. The volumes reconceptualize the history of medical ethics through the creation of new categories, including the life cycle; discourses of religion, philosophy, and bioethics; and the relationship (...) between medical ethics and the state, which includes a historical reexamination of the ethics of apartheid, colonialism, communism, health policy, imperialism, militarism, Nazi medicine, Nazi "medical ethics," and research ethics. Also included are the first global chronology of persons and texts; the first concise biographies of major figures in medical ethics; and the first comprehensive bibliography of the history of medical ethics. An extensive index guides readers to topics, texts, and proper names. (shrink)
This is a newly revised and updated edition of A History of Western Ethics, a coherent and accessible overview of the most important figures and influential ideas of the history of ethics in the Western philosophical tradition. Written by eleven distinguished scholars, and including a glossary of key terms, this book is an essential reference for students and general readers alike.
J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" has been hailed as a major interpretation of modern moral thought. Schneewind's narrative, however, elides several serious interpretive issues, particularly in the transition from late medieval to early modern thought. This results in potentially distorted accounts of Thomas Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, and G. W. Leibniz. Since these thinkers play a crucial role in Schneewind's argument, uncertainty over their work calls into question at least some of Schneewind's larger agenda for the history of (...)ethics. (shrink)
This book offers the first sustained multi-disciplinary investigation of the question and status of ethics in light of the current "return to ethics" underway in a variety of critical fields. While the questions of ethics have become increasingly important in recent years for many fields within the humanities, there has been no single volume that seeks to address the emergence of this concern with ethics across the disciplinary spectrum. Given this lack in currently available critical and (...) secondary texts, and also the urgency of the issues addressed by the critics assembled here, the time is right for a collection of this nature. By assembling the work of nine critics from among these disciplines-including philosophy, women's studies, cultural studies, anthropology, literary studies, and history-this collection will help to frame the conversation on the status of ethics in the coming years. One of the great features of the book is the very high quality of work and the importance within the critical scene of many of its contributors. Contributors: Lowell Gallagher, Richard J. Golsan, David E. Johnson, Howard Marchitello, Kelly Oliver, Marshall Sahlins, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Tzvetan Todorov, Krzysztof Ziarek. (shrink)
The essays in this volume offer an approach to the history of moral and political philosophy that takes its inspiration from John Rawls. All the contributors are philosophers who have studied with Rawls and they offer this collection in his honor. The distinctive feature of this approach is to address substantive normative questions in moral and political philosophy through an analysis of the texts and theories of major figures in the history of the subject: Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, (...) Kant, and Marx. By reconstructing the core of these theories in a way that is informed by contemporary theoretical concerns, the contributors show how the history of the subject is a resource for understanding present and perennial problems in moral and political philosophy. This outstanding collection will be of particular interest to historians of moral and political philosophy, historians of ideas, and political scientists. (shrink)
Widely acknowledged to be the perfect introduction to the subject, this important text presents in concise form an insightful yet exceptionally complete history of moral philosophy in the West, from the Greeks to contemporary times.
The Jamesian mode of writing, it has been claimed, actively works against an understanding of the way truth, history and power circulate in his texts. In this collection of essays, leading scholars of James analyse the strategies James used to address these crucial issues. Enacting History in Henry James claims that, because the type of knowledge available in James's fiction is never of a cognitive kind, the reader can never know 'truth' in any verifiable sense. James's writing instead (...) promises an experiential type of knowledge, one that is attained by participating in the power games and moral dramas that unfold within the text. This collection argues that reading James ultimately requires not just an emotional responsiveness, but also an ethical assumption of responsibility for the act of reading. By placing James's work in a fresh theoretical context, this book throws new light on this most enigmatic of writers. (shrink)
In this introduction to a cluster of three articles on eighteenth-century ethics written by Mark Larrimore, John Bowlin, and Mark Cladis, the author maintains that although the broad narrative tracing the emergence of a religiously neutral or naturalistic moral language in the eighteenth century is a familiar one, many central questions concerning this development remain unanswered and require further historical study. Against those who contend that historical study is antecedent to, but not part of, the proper substance of religious (...)ethics, the author argues that historical and normative studies are interdependent, each helping to define the questions central to the other. The introduction concludes with an overview of the three articles and suggests ways in which religious ethicists can, in the future, make a distinctive contribution to the history of ethics. (shrink)
In the development of Roman Catholic social thought from the teachings of the scholastics to the modern social encyclicals, changes in normative economics reflect the transformation of an economic terrain from its feudal roots to the modern industrial economy. The preeminence accorded by the modern market to the allocative over the distributive function of price broke the convenient convergence of commutative and distributive justice in scholastic just price theory. Furthermore, the loss of custom, law, and usage in defining the boundaries (...) of economic behavior led to a depersonalization of economic relationships that had previously provided effective informal means of protecting individual well-being. Hence, recent economic ethics has had to look for nonprice, nonmarket mechanisms for distributive justice. This is reflected, for example, in the shift in attitude from the medieval antipathy toward unions to the contemporary defense of organized labor on moral grounds. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection of its kind, Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Third Edition, is organized into three parts, providing instructors with flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of courses in moral philosophy. The first part, Historical Sources, moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus) through medieval views (Augustine and Aquinas) to modern theories (Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Kant, Bentham, and Mill), culminating with leading nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers (Nietzsche, James, Dewey, Camus, and Sartre). The (...) second part, Modern Ethical Theory, includes many of the most important essays of the past century. The discussion of utilitarianism, Kantianism, egoism, and relativism continues in the work of major contemporary philosophers (Foot, Brandt, Williams, Wolf, and Nagel). Landmark selections (Moore, Prichard, Ross, Ayer, Stevenson, Hare, Baier, Anscombe, Gauthier, and Harman) reflect concern with moral language and the justification of morality. The concepts of justice (Rawls) and rights (Feinberg) are explored, as well as recent views on the importance of virtue ethics (Rachels) and an ethic influenced by feminist concerns (Held). In the third part, Contemporary Moral Problems, the readings present the current debates over abortion, euthanasia, famine relief, animal rights, the death penalty, and whether numbers should play a role in making moral decisions. The third edition expands Part II, Modern Ethical Theory, adding essays by Onora O'Neill, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Allan Gibbard, Nicholas L. Sturgeon, and Martha Nussbaum. Part III, Contemporary Moral Problems, features new essays on abortion by Mary Anne Warren, Don Marquis, and Rosalind Hursthouse; an essay on the death penalty by Stephen Nathanson; and a debate between John M. Taurek and Derek Parfit on when and why one should save from harm a greater rather than a lesser number of people. The book concludes with an essay by Judith Jarvis Thomson on the trolley problem. Wherever possible, each reading is printed in its entirety. (shrink)
For Hare, the question “Why should I be moral?” amounted to asking why one should act only on those judgments that one is prepared to universalize. His answer was that it may not be possible to give such a reason to a person who does ...
The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the “Geneva Declaration” by the World Medical Association, both in 1948, were preceded by the foundation of the United Nations in New York (1945), the World Medical Association in London (1946) and the World Health Organization in Geneva (1948). After the end of World War II the community of nations strove to achieve and sustain their primary goals of peace and security, as well as their basic premise, namely the health of human beings. (...) All these associations were well aware of the crimes by medicine, in particular by the accused Nazi physicians at the Nuremberg Doctors Trial (1946/47, sentence: August 1947). During the first conference of the World Medical Association (September 1947) issues of medical ethics played a major role: and a new document was drafted concerning the values of the medical profession. After the catastrophe of the War and the criminal activities of scientists, the late 1940s saw increased scrutiny paid to fundamental questions of human rights and medical ethics, which are still highly relevant for today’s medicine and morality. The article focuses on the development of medical ethics and human rights reflected in the statement of important persons, codes and institutions in the field. (shrink)
Christian Wolff's 1721 "Discourse on the Practical Philosophy of the Chinese" is generally read as championing the autonomy of ethics from religion. This is too simple: Wolff's ethics was an antivoluntarist "religious" ethics. The example of the Chinese confirmed for Wolff that revelation is not necessary for knowledge or practice of genuine virtue, though he held that the Chinese achieve only the first of three "degrees of virtue." (Most Christians, including the Pietists who drove Wolff from Halle (...) shortly after he delivered the "Discourse," did not, in his judgment, achieve even that.) China's being perceived as outside of Western (and sacred) history made it a congenial example for the ethics and moral anthropology that, in Wolff's time, were struggling against the voluntarism of a Christian ethics premised on original sin. (shrink)
The history of the regulation of animal research is essentially the history of the emergence of meaningful social ethics for animals in society. Initially, animal ethics concerned itself solely with cruelty, but this was seen as inadequate to late 20th-century concerns about animal use. The new social ethic for animals was quite different, and its conceptual bases are explored in this paper. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 represented a very minimal and in many ways incoherent (...) attempt to regulate animal research, and is far from morally adequate. The 1985 amendments did much to render coherent the ethic for laboratory animals, but these standards were still inadequate in many ways, as enumerated here. The philosophy underlying these laws is explained, their main provisions are explored, and future directions that could move the ethic forward and further rationalize the laws are sketched. (shrink)
Why History? is a compelling introduction to the issue of history and ethics. Designed to provoke discussion, the book asks whether and why a good knowledge and understanding of the past is desirable. In the context of current postmodern thinking, Keith Jenkins suggests that the goal of "learning lessons from the past" actually means learning lessons from stories written by historians and others. If the past as history has no foundation, can anything ethical be gained from (...)history? Daring and controversial, Why History? presents liberating challenges to history and ethics, proposing that we have reached an emancipatory moment which is well beyond the "end of history.". (shrink)
In its dominantly ahistorical character, the Journal of Religious Ethics has much in common with its counterparts among philosophical journals, show- ing as clearly as they do the widespread antihistorical bias of twentieth- century analytical philosophy. Moreover, such historical work as the journal has published has been tied unnecessarily closely to the voluntarist (divine command) paradigm. While drawing attention to the antivoluntarist strand in the history of ethics, the articles by John Bowlin, Mark Cladis, and Mark Larrimore, (...) together with the introduction by Jennifer Herdt, demonstrate that the purposes of inquiry in religious ethics are better served by attending to the past than by ignoring it. (shrink)
Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy (Motilal Banarsidass 2007). Regretfully, it is not an uncommon view in orthodox Indology that Indian philosophers were not interested in ethics. This claim belies the fact that Indian philosophical schools were generally interested in the practical consequences of beliefs and actions. The most popular symptom of this concern is the doctrine of karma, according to which the consequences of actions have an evaluative valence. Ethics and the History of (...) Indian Philosophy argues that the orthodox view in Indology concerning Indian ethics is false. The first half the book deals with theoretical issues in studying ethics: defining moral terms, understanding the subject matter of ethics so as to transcend culturally specific substantive commitments and touches upon issues of cross-cultural hermeneutics and translation. The second half consists of a systematic explication of the moral philosophical aspects of nine major Indian philosophical schools. I argue that “dharma” in its various uses in Indian philosophy is always rationally treated as a moral term—even in so called “ontological” employments of the term as seen in Buddhism and Jainism. In understanding “dharma” in this manner, the Indian philosophical tradition is replete with different versions of moral realism that fit tidily with other philosophical commitments of Indian philosophers. Pains are taken to show the breath of moral philosophical disagreement in this tradition. On a comparative note, some Indian moral philosophy resembles realist approaches of the Western tradition (such as the Non-natural realism of Neo-Platonism, or the Naturalism of Utilitarianism). Out of the major Indian philosophical schools, a slim minority are shown to be committed to moral irrealism while some are shown to regard their entire philosophical orientation as firmly planted within moral philosophy (such as Jainism, Buddhism, Purva Mimamsa and Yoga). In response to those who would argue that what Indian philosophers meant by “dharma” is very different from what moral philosophers in the West have meant by “ethical” or “good,” I argue that this is as vacuous as noting that Utilitarians have a different conception of the good from Deontologists. If philosophy is concerned with theoretical debate, as I argue it is, philosophical terms function to articulate such disagreements. The various seemingly desperate uses of “dharma” in the Indian tradition are no longer confusing or disorderly when we understand the theoretico-philosophical function of this term in Indian philosophical disputes. (shrink)
Ethics deals with how we make decisions and the actions we perform. In decision-making, one weighs the pros and the cons of any course of action. Besides the realm of the private, there are ethical issues regularly dealt with in public discourses. Human identity in most instances is a cultural and religious construct. Our socio-historical background as human beings is constitutive of our identity and also informs our ethical decision making. In this essay, I argue for a possibility of (...) positively incorporating ideas from world religions and diverse cultures into public ethical discourses. Since world religions are about people, it is possible to appropriate humanity as understood in religions in the development of ethics. Hence, I present religions as practically relevant in the analysis of public ethical issues. Public ethical discourses are viewed as inclusive of history, religion, and culture. Further, the work of the philosopher Paul Ricoeur is presented as a way of reconciling subjectivity and objectivity in history and ethics. This essay is an analysis on ways in which the debate on ethical issues can incorporate all the voices in a society without excluding anyone while avoiding ideological extremism.  . (shrink)
Terence Irwin presents a historical and critical study of the development of moral philosophy over two thousand years, from ancient Greece to the Reformation. Starting with the seminal ideas of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, he guides the reader through the centuries that follow, introducing each of the thinkers he discusses with generous quotations from their works. He offers not only careful interpretation but critical evaluation of what they have to offer philosophically. This is the first of three volumes which will (...) examine the history of ethics in the Socratic tradition, up to the late 20th century. (shrink)
Understanding the ethics and politics of environmentalism, as well as predator biology, means thinking in new ways about objectivity. The history of predator biology shows how scientists order nature as they interact with non-humans. If science ultimately orders nature as its comprehends it, the implications for environmental ethics and politics, which continue to call on the authority of objective science, loom large.
White opposes the long-standing view that ancient Greek ethics is fundamentally different from modern ethical views. He examines the ways in which Greek ethics has been interpreted since the 18th century, and traces the history in Greek ethical thought of the idea of conflict among human aims, in particular the conflict between conformity to ethical standards and one's own happiness.
More often than not, business ethics textbooks have included sections on "the great economic debate," that is, the discussion of capitalism as a total system, of the criticisms against it and of the proposed alternatives. The reason for such sections is fairly obvious: at some point one has to consider whether or not all the particular problems of employment, of product quality, of environment, of regulation and so on prove beyond solution without a radical change in the basic institutions (...) of society. Since the collapse of real socialism as an alternative in the period 1989–1991, it has become increasingly difficult to have this discussion. Yet we cannot do without the critique of capitalism even if the answer may be that no other economic system is viable at this moment in history. My interest in this paper is to explore how we might now engage in this critique. Francis Fukuyama's "The End of History?" (1989) and Jacques Derrida's Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International (1993) provide a framework for this renewed engagement. (shrink)
Henry Hansmann has claimed we have reached the “end of history” in corporate law, organized around the “widespread normative consensus that corporate managers should act exclusively in the economic interests of shareholders.” In this paper, I examine Hansmann’s own argument in support of this view, in order to draw out its implications for some of the traditional concerns of business ethicists about corporate social responsibility. The centerpiece of Hansmann’s argument is the claim that ownership of the firm is most (...) naturally exercised by the group able to achieve the lowest agency costs, and that homogeneity of interest within the ownership group is the most important factor in achieving lower costs. He defends this claim through a study of cooperatives, attempting to show that homogeneity is the source of the competitive advantage most often enjoyed by shareholders over other constituency groups, such as workers, suppliers and customers, when it comes to exercising control over the firm. Some business ethicists, impressed by this argument, have taken it to be a vindication of Milton Friedman’s claim that profit-maximization is the only “social responsibility” of management. I would like to suggest that this conclusion does not follow, and that the “Hansmann argument” lends itself to a less minimalist view, what I refer to as a “market failures” approach to business ethics. (shrink)
The name "School of Salamanca" refers to a group of theologians and natural law philosophers who taught in the University of Salamanca, following the inspiration of the great Thomist Francisco de Vitoria. It turns out that the Scholastics were not simply medieval, but began in the 13th century and expanded through the 16th and 17th centuries; and they developed some original theories about economics and international law.Why should a few men mainly interested in theology and ethics apply themselves in (...) analyzing issues so far from their worries? The answer leads us to a revision of the morality rules, due to the new problems in business ethics. Thus, for example, the appearance of inflation made them have doubts about the merchant's morality. In order to solve this and other problems, they began to analyze the new and suspicious economic activity. As a result of their observations about ethical issues they discovered some advanced theories for the history of economic thought, such as the early formulation of the quantity theory of money. (shrink)
In this book Michael Slote discusses the history of ethics from a sentimentalist perspective. It can be read in two ways: first, as a tribute to great thinkers whose contributions have helped shape contemporary ethics, and second, as a defense of a sentimentalist virtue theory. This review centers on the two chapters most relevant to sentimentalist virtue theory: chapter 1, in which Slote defines and defends elevationism, and chapter 5, in which he offers a defense of sentimentalism. (...) The first essay distinguishes between three theories about the relationship between virtue and well-being. Dualist theories, like Kantianism, contend that virtue and well-being are distinct concepts. Reductionist theories .. (shrink)
: President Clinton's charge to the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments included the identification of ethical and legal standards for evaluating government-sponsored radiation experiments conducted during the Cold War. In this paper, we review the traditional account of the history of American research ethics, and then highlight and explain the significance of a number of the Committee's historical findings as they relate to this account. These findings include both the national defense establishment's struggles with legal and insurance (...) issues concerning human experiments, and the medical profession's perspective on human experimentation in the years following the Nuremberg Medical Trials. We conclude that the Committee's work both enriches the traditional view of the history of research ethics and opens important new areas for study. (shrink)
The importance of history for religious ethics lies in the fact that, in religious communities existing over time, values are encountered in history, given forms dependent on the historical experience of the believing community, and recalled by the individual moral agent through memory in the context of participation in that community. This paper has to do with the nature of that memory and its implications for moral identity. Specifically, I utilize the concept of "significant history," derived (...) from Gordon Kaufman's notion of the "living past," arguing that moral identity is defined by memory of such history, present to the self in two aspects, individual and communal. The historical task of the religious ethicist, on this view, is to render faithfully both his own significant history and that of his community of faith. With the problem thus defined, I analyze several attempts to solve it, attempting to show how a religious ethical tradition ought to be treated as normative for contemporary analysis and decision-making. (shrink)
This essay traces Gustafson's understanding of the methodological significance of history and time for theological ethics. I argue that Gustafson qualifies his original thoroughgoing historicist perspective in the interest of developing a natural theology and ethics. His continuing emphasis on a historical perspective, I suggest, is best understood by attending to his recommendation that the theologian's task is best captured by the image of the "participant.".
John Rist surveys the history of ethics from Plato to the present and offers a vigorous defence of an ethical theory based on a revised version of Platonic realism. In a wide-ranging discussion he examines well-known alternatives to Platonism, in particular Epicurus, Hobbes, Hume and Kant as well as contemporary 'practical reasoners', and argues that most post-Enlightenment theories of morality (as well as Nietzschean subversions of such theories) depend on an abandoned Christian metaphysic and are unintelligible without such (...) grounding. He also argues that contemporary choice-based theories, whether they take a strictly ethical or more obviously political form, are ultimately arbitrary in nature. His lively and accessible study is informed by a powerful sense of philosophical history, and will be of interest to both students and scholars of ethics. (shrink)