Two essays on utilitarianism, written from opposite points of view, by J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams. In the first part of the book Professor Smart advocates a modern and sophisticated version of classical utilitarianism; he tries to formulate a consistent and persuasive elaboration of the doctrine that the rightness and wrongness of actions is determined solely by their consequences, and in particular their consequences for the sum total of human happiness. This is a revised version of Professor (...) Smart's famous essay 'an outline of a system of utilitarian ethics', first published in 1961 but long unobtainable. In Part II Bernard Williams offers a sustained and vigorous critique of utilitarian assumptions, arguments and ideals. He finds inadequate the theory of action implied by utilitarianism, and he argues that utilitarianism fails to engage at a serious level with the real problems of moral and political philosophy, and fails to make sense of notions such as integrity, or even human happiness itself. Both authors are agreed on utilitarianism's importance: it cuts across a number of different philosophical disputes and combines a systematic account of mata-ethical problems with a distinctive and substantive moral stand. It thus is, or involves, philosophy in both the traditional and the narrower, professional sense of the word, and is a key topic (often the first topic) in introductory philosophy courses. This book should also be of interest to welfare economists, political scientists and decision-theorists. (shrink)
In this article I discuss Geoffrey Vickers’ ideas from the perspective of moral and political philosophy. His thought is presented through three key terms, which I suggest can encapsulate his philosophy: (i) our human capacity to respond aptly to our situation; (ii) the analysis of modern society in terms of institutions; and (iii) the moral importance of responsibility to the maintenance of human culture and cooperation.
Defending Poetry studies the tradition of poetic defence, or apologia, as it has been pursued and developed by three of the twentieth century's leading poet-critics: Joseph Brodsky, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill. It begins with an extended introduction to philosophical debates over the ethical value of literature from Plato to Levinas and continues by situating these three poets as in one sense historically continuous with the defences of Horace, Sidney, Coleridge, and Shelley, but also as drastically other. This otherness (...) is bounded on one side by the example of T. S. Eliot's career-long contemplation of the ideal of poetic 'integrity', and on the other by a collective recognition of the twentieth century's great horrors, which seem to corrode all associations of art and the good. Through close readings of the poems and prose essays of Brodsky, Heaney, and Hill, Defending Poetry makes a timely intervention in current debates about literature's ethics, arguing that any ethics of literature ought to take into account not only poetry, but also the writings of poets on the value of poetry. (shrink)
This paper looks at whether the tenets of Islam are consistent with the 'Ten Principles' of responsible business outlined in the UN Global Compact. The paper concludes that with the possible exception of Islam's focus on personal responsibility and the non-recognition of the corporation as a legal person, which could undermine the concept of corporate responsibility, there is no divergence between the tenets of the religion and the principles of the UN Global Compact. Indeed, Islam often goes further and has (...) the advantage of clearer codification of ethical standards as well as a set of explicit enforcement mechanisms. Focusing on this convergence of values could be useful in the development of a new understanding of CSR in a global context and help avert the threatened "clash of civilisations". (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between religious denomination and individual attitudes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) within the context of a large sample of over 17,000 individuals drawn from 20 countries. We address two general questions: do members of religious denominations have different attitudes concerning CSR than people of no denomination? And: do members of different religions have different attitudes to CSR that conform to general priors about the teachings of different religions? Our evidence suggests that, broadly, religious individuals do (...) not prioritise the responsibilities of the firm differently, but do tend to hold broader conceptions of the social responsibilities of businesses than non-religious individuals. However, we show that this neither true for all religious groups, nor for all areas of CSR. (shrink)
The development of comparative biology (systematics) has been of interest to philosophers and historians. Particular attention has been placed on the ‘war’ of the 1970s and 1980s, the apparent dispute among those who preferred this or that methodology. In this contribution we examine the history of comparative biology from the perspective of fundamentals rather than methodologies. Our examination is framed within the artificial—natural classification dichotomy, a viewpoint currently lost from view but (...) worth resurrecting. (shrink)
Two important assumptions of behavioral momentum theory are contradicted by existing data. Resistance to change is not due simply to the Pavlovian contingency between a discriminative stimulus and the rate of reinforcement in its presence, because variations in the response-reinforcer contingency, independent of the stimulus-reinforcer contingency, produce differential resistance to change. Resistance to change is also not clearly related to measures of preference, in that several experiments show the two measures to dissociate.
This article describes how a unique high school programme, not formally designed to teach moral principles or character lessons, contributed substantially to the character education of its students. Graduates over 20 years old were interviewed ( n =106) and completed a questionnaire ( n =204). Findings suggest the programme teachers helped students develop character attributes by providing a desirable character education environment. A majority of students reported that the programme was personalised, practical and, in many cases, life changing. A majority (...) of the students also indicated that the programme helped them develop an appreciation and respect for others and the environment, while helping them prepare for higher education. We present this programme as a model for character education at the high school level. Details are presented so that the programme can be replicated in other settings. We conclude that the success of this programme can be understood in terms of teachers' willingness to encourage students to take responsibility for their lives, and their learning through modeling of high character values, use of an integrated and experiential curriculum, and employment of a dialogical perspective on active education. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to evaluate the prevalence in the 27 member states of the European Union of a little discussed illicit wage arrangement in which formal employees are paid two wages by their formal employers – an official declared salary and an additional undeclared wage, thus allowing employers to evade their full social insurance and tax liabilities. Reporting the results of a 2007 Eurobarometer survey involving 26,659 face-to-face interviews, the finding is that one in 18 formal employees (...) received such an envelope wage from their formal employer and that envelope wage payments are more prevalent in member states with lower (rather than higher) levels of state intervention. The tentative conclusion is that illicit envelope wage payments are a product of under-regulation, rather than over-regulation, and that further research is now required to test the validity analysis of this thesis in other global regions. (shrink)