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)
We comment that covariances between brain divisions may be constraining or facilitating, depending on what is being selected, and that modern quantitative genetic methods provide the tools to discover and manipulate the genetic networks that give rise to the covariances described in the target article.
Women do most of the parenting. To provide a stable and healthier setting for children they must sublimate their own interests and feelings, which puts greater pressures on women to communicate needs clearly or to be deceptive when the occasion demands. The likely advantage in communication skills and self-control may ameliorate the impact of disorders like ADHD where the most serious deficit is in self-inhibition. This would account for the strikingly uneven male to female sex ratio of 2:1 (in epidemiological (...) samples) to 10:1 (in clinical settings), the higher threshold for females, and the sex difference in the pattern of associated mental disorders. (shrink)
This article is guided by principles and practices of bioethics and public health ethics focused on health care reform within the context of promoting Optimal Health. The Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care is moving beyond the traditions of bioethics to incorporate public health ethics and Optimal Health. It is imperative to remember the legacy of the ill-fated research entitled Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. Human participant research and health care must (...) be connected to principles of bioethics and public health ethics if the Affordable Care Act is expected to positively impact on the health of people living in the United States. Optimal Health describes a strategy to achieve individual and population health. Health care reform offers an opportunity to shift from the traditional pathology focus of managing diseases to target disease prevention and health promotion with a new set of tools. Transformational change is possible if the lessons learned from the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee are considered and strategies in bioethics and public heath ethics are employed. (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)
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)
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)
Background Genomic research is challenging the tradition of informed consent. Genomic researchers in the USA, Canada and parts of Europe are encouraged to use informed consent to address the prospect of disclosing individual research results (IRRs) to study participants. In the USA, no national policy exists to direct this use of informed consent, and it is unclear how local institutional review boards (IRBs) may want researchers to respond. Objective and methods To explore publicly accessible IRB websites for guidance in this (...) area, using summative content analysis. Findings Three types of research results were addressed in 45 informed consent templates and instructions from 20 IRBs based at centres conducting genomic research: (1) IRRs in general, (2) incidental findings (IFs) and (3) a broad and unspecified category of ‘significant new findings’ (SNFs). IRRs were more frequently referenced than IFs or SNFs. Most documents stated that access to IRRs would not be an option for research participants. These non-disclosure statements were found to coexist in some documents with statements that SNFs would be disclosed to participants if related to their willingness to participate in research. The median readability of template language on IRRs, IFs and SNFs exceeded a ninth-grade level. Conclusion IRB guidance may downplay the possibility of IFs and contain conflicting messages on IRR non-disclosure and SNF disclosure. IRBs may need to clarify why separate IRR and SNF language should appear in the same consent document. The extent of these issues, nationally and internationally, needs to be determined. (shrink)
Wittgenstein held that identity is expressible not by a sign of identity but by identity of sign. but belief contexts construed transparently show that repetition of a name is not sufficient to express identity. what is needed is a relational predicate like "=", but like quine's "ref" which converts a two-place into a one-place predicable. geach showed that "self" expresses an operation of this sort; so "same" and "self" turn out to express the same concept, as does "correspond" in explications (...) of the notion of truth. (shrink)