This historical study of the infinite covers all its aspects from the mathematical to the mystical. Anyone who has ever pondered the limitlessness of space and time, or the endlessness of numbers, or the perfection of God will recognize the special fascination of the subject. Beginning with an entertaining account of the main paradoxes of the infinite, including those of Zeno, A.W. Moore traces the history of the topic from Aristotle to Kant, Hegel, Cantor, and Wittgenstein.
A. W. Moore argues in this bold, unusual, and ambitious book that it is possible to think about the world from no point of view. His argument involves discussion of a very wide range of fundamental philosophical issues, including the nature of persons, the subject-matter of mathematics, realism and anti-realism, value, the inexpressible, and God. The result is a powerful critique of our own finitude.
[A. W. Moore] There are criteria of ineffability whereby, even if the concept of ineffability can never serve to modify truth, it can sometimes (non-trivially) serve to modify other things, specifically understanding. This allows for a reappraisal of the dispute between those who adopt a traditional reading of Wittgenstein's Tractatus and those who adopt the new reading recently championed by Diamond, Conant, and others. By maintaining that what the nonsense in the Tractatus is supposed to convey is ineffable understanding, (...) rather than ineffable truth, we can do considerable justice to each of these readings. We can also do considerable justice to the Tractatus. /// [Peter Sullivan] Moore proposes to cut between 'traditional' and 'new' approaches to the Tractatus, suggesting that Wittgenstein's intention is to convey, through the knowing use of nonsense, ineffable understanding. I argue, first, that there is indeed room for a proposal of Moore's general kind. Secondly, though, I question whether Moore's actual proposal is not more in tune with Wittgenstein's later thought than with the attitude of the Tractatus. (shrink)
Two of W. V. Quine''s most familiar doctrines are his endorsement of the distinction between underdetermination and indeterminacy, and his rejection of the distinction between analytic and synthetic truths. The author argues that these two doctrines are incompatible. In terms wholly acceptable to Quine, and based on the underdetermination/indeterminacy distinction, the author draws an exhaustive and exclusive distinction between two kinds of true sentences, and then argues that this corresponds to the traditional analytic/synthetic distinction. In an appendix the author expands (...) on one aspect of the underdetermination/indeterminacy distinction, as construed here, and discusses, in passing, some of Quine''s more general views on truth. (shrink)
In this bold and innovative new work, Adrian Moore provides a refreshing but challenging new interpretation of Kant's moral philosophy and argues that it can enrich our understanding of a central problem in contemporary ethical debate: the problem of rationality. Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty is essential reading for all those interested in Kant, ethics and philosophy of religion.
This volume presents a selection of the most important writings in the debate on the nature of meaning and reference which started one hundred years ago with Frege's classic essay "On Sense and Reference." Contributors include Bertrand Russell, P.F. Strawson, W.V. Quine, Donald Davidson, John McDowell, Michael Dummett, Hilary Putnam, Saul Kripke, David Wiggins, and Gareth Evans. The aim of this series is to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a wide variety of (...) sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available to the university student or the general reader. (shrink)
In this essay I consider the argument that Bernard Williams advances in ‘The Makropolus Case’ for the meaninglessness of immortality. I also consider various counter-arguments. I suggest that the more clearly these counter-arguments are targeted at the spirit of Williams's argument, rather than at its letter, the less clearly they pose a threat to it. I then turn to Nietzsche, whose views about the eternal recurrence might appear to make him an opponent of Williams. I argue that, properly interpreted, these (...) views in fact make him an ally. (shrink)
In his What is Business Ethics? Peter Drucker accuses business ethics of singling out business unfairly for special ethical treatment, of subordinating ethical to political concerns, and of being, not ethics at all, but ethical chic. We contend that Drucker's denunciation of business ethics rests upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the field. This article is a response to his charges and an effort to clarify the nature, scope and purpose of business ethics.
For over two thousand years thought about the infinite was dominated by Aristotelian hostility to the idea that the infinite could be a legitimate object of mathematical study. Then Cantor's work late in the nineteenth century seemed to overturn this orthodoxy. However, by highlighting ways in which infinitude still could not be brought under the control of mathematicians, Cantor's work may in fact have reinforced the orthodoxy.
A questionnaire on business ethics was administered to business professionals and to upper-class business ethics students. On eight of the seventeen situations involving ethical dilemmas in business, students were significantly more willing to engage in questionable behavior than were their professional counterparts. Apparently, many students were willing to do whatever was necessary to further their own interests, with little or no regard for fundamental moral principles. Many students and professionals functioned within Lawrence Kohlberg's stage four of moral reasoning, the law (...) and order stage. Individualism and egoism remain strong patterns in the moral reasoning of many professionals, but they influence moral reasoning patterns among students to a much greater degree. (shrink)
Restrictions upon international bribery by U.S. business firms, as incorporated in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, have been controversial since this legislation was passed in 1977. Despite many attempts to repeal or change the law, it remains as originally enacted.This article reports on a survey of U.S. business professionals concerning international bribery. Response to our survey reveals a divided business community in terms of their opinions on the ethics of international payments prohibited by the present law.
The psycholinguistic literature has identified two syntactic adaptation effects in language production: rapidly decaying short-term priming and long-lasting adaptation. To explain both effects, we present an ACT-R model of syntactic priming based on a wide-coverage, lexicalized syntactic theory that explains priming as facilitation of lexical access. In this model, two well-established ACT-R mechanisms, base-level learning and spreading activation, account for long-term adaptation and short-term priming, respectively. Our model simulates incremental language production and in a series of modeling studies, we show (...) that it accounts for (a) the inverse frequency interaction; (b) the absence of a decay in long-term priming; and (c) the cumulativity of long-term adaptation. The model also explains the lexical boost effect and the fact that it only applies to short-term priming. We also present corpus data that verify a prediction of the model, that is, that the lexical boost affects all lexical material, rather than just heads. (shrink)
The author begins with an outline of Bernard William's moral philosophy, within which he locates William's notorious doctrine that reflection can destroy ethical knowledge. He then gives a partial defence of this doctrine, exploiting an analogy between ethical judgements and tensed judgements. The basic idea is that what the passage of time does for the latter, reflection can do for the former: namely, prevent the re-adoption of an abandoned point of view (an ethical point of view in the one case, (...) a temporal point of view in the other). In the final section the author says a little about how reflection might do this. Footnotes1 This essay is derived from a lecture entitled ‘Bernard Williams’, delivered at Oxford University in 2000, in the series ‘Oxford Philosophers on Oxford Philosophers’, organized by Peter Hacker and David Wiggins. I am grateful to those who attended the lecture, and to Bernard Williams, for helpful comments. (shrink)
Research on the relationship between religious commitment and business ethics has produced widely varying results and made the impact of such commitment unclear. This study presents an empirical investigation based on a questionnaire survey of business managers and professionals in the United States yielding a database of 1234 respondents. Respondents evaluated the ethical acceptability of 16 business decisions. Findings varied with the way in which the religion variable was measured. Little relationship between religious commitment and ethical judgment was found when (...) responses were compared on the basis of broad faith categories – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, other religions, and no religion. However, respondents who indicated that religious interests were of high or moderate importance to them demonstrated a higher level of ethical judgment (less accepting of unethical decisions) than others in their evaluations. Evangelical Christians also showed a higher level of ethical judgment. (shrink)
This article analyzes the attitudes of United States business professionals toward the issue of international bribery, and in particular, whether or not having a written code of ethics has an effect on these attitudes. A vignette relating to international bribery from a widely used survey instrument was employed in a nationwide survey of business professionals to gather information on ethical attitudes of respondents. Data were also collected on gender of respondents, whether or not respondents were self-employed, whether or not the (...) respondents' firms had a written code of ethics, and to what extent the respondents' firms generated revenues from international operations. Attitudes concerning whether or not international bribery is ever acceptable exhibited wide dispersion. Respondents from firms that have a written code of ethics were significantly less likely to find international bribery acceptable. Firms that generate revenues from international operations were significantly more likely to have a written code of ethics than were firms which did not generate revenues from international operations. Implications of the findings for business policy are discussed. (shrink)
This article compares the ethical attitudes of Ukrainian business professionals with those of United States business professionals. A widely used survey instrument consisting of 16 hypothetical situations involving ethical dilemmas was employed to gather information on ethical attitudes in the two countries. On 13 of 16 vignettes, Ukrainian respondents demonstrated less stringent ethical attitudes than did their United States counterparts. Possible reasons for these differences are discussed, with primary emphasis on the transition from one economic system to another that is (...) underway in Ukraine. Comments from Ukrainian respondents are presented so as to give an indication of the thought processes behind the questionnaire responses. (shrink)
In Rethinking the Philosophy of Religion Today, this paper would like to advance the atheist solution to the problem of evil that has occasionally in the past been suggested by philosophers, but has largely been neglected in the Philosophy of Religion. In discussing this solution, the paper focuses on the reasons upon which philosophers regard the giving up of one or more of the attributes of God in theism to be an adequate solution to the problem of evil. Concerning the (...) more negative of these reasons, it shows that the latter revolves around the argument of the logical inconsistency of the theistic theory. Concerning the more positiveof these reasons, the focus is on the efforts of philosophers that have been following the suggestions of David Hume and that have started to experiment with solutions wherein at least one of the attributes of God is given up. The paper closes by showing that there exist an even more fundamental reason upon which it can be claimed that the problem of evil can be solved along this way without serious implications for a belief in God. (shrink)
This article reports the findings of a survey examining if there are gender and career stage differences between male and female practitioners regarding ethical judgment. The results show that, on average, females adopted a more strict ethical stance than their male counterparts on 7 out of 19 vignettes. Males on the other hand, demonstrated a more ethical stance than their female counterparts on 2 out of 19 vignettes. The results furthermore indicate there is a significant difference in ethical judgment across (...) career stages. Overall, it appears that practitioners in later career stages display higher ethical judgment than practitoners in lower career stages. Implications are provided for both practitioners and academicians. (shrink)
In Michael Dummett's celebrated essay on Gödel's theorem he considers the threat posed by the theorem to the idea that meaning is use and argues that this threat can be annulled. In my essay I try to show that the threat is even less serious than Dummett makes it out to be. Dummett argues, in effect, that Gödel's theorem does not prevent us from "capturing" the truths of arithmetic; I argue that the idea that meaning is use does not require (...) that we be able to "capture" these truths anyway. Towards the end of my essay I relate what I have been arguing first to Dummett's concept of indefinite extensibility and then to some of Wittgenstein's remarks on Gödel's theorem. (shrink)
This paper reports on the results from two studies that were conducted eight years apart with different respondents. The studies examined the role of the Mere Exposure Effect on ethical tolerance or acceptability of particular business decisions. The results from Study 1 show there is a significant difference in ethical judgment for 12 out of 16 vignettes between those who have been exposed to such situations compared to those who have not been exposed to them. In those 12 situations, those (...) who have been exposed to such situations adopted a more tolerant stance toward the ethically questionable behavior. The results from Study 2 show there is a significant difference in ethical judgment for 9 out of 16 vignettes between those who have been exposed to such situations compared to those who have not been exposed to them. Again, in those nine situations, those who have been exposed to such situations adopted a more tolerant stance toward the ethically questionable behavior. Interestingly, the 9 situations in Study 2 were 9 of the 12 situations found to be significant in Study 1, and in the same direction, suggesting that we have found consistency in our findings and support for the Mere Exposure Effect. Implications are provided for both higher education and practitioners. (shrink)