Although higher education understands the need to develop critical thinkers, it has not lived up to the task consistently. Students are graduating deficient in these skills, unprepared to think critically once in the workforce. Limited development of cognitive processing skills leads to less effective leaders. Various definitions of critical thinking are examined to develop a general construct to guide the discussion as critical thinking is linked to constructivism, leadership, and education. Most pedagogy is content-based built on deep knowledge. Successful critical (...) thinking pedagogy is moving away from this paradigm, teaching students to think complexly. Some of the challenges faced by higher education moving to a critical thinking curricula are discussed, and recommendations are offered for improving outcomes. (shrink)
Dr Anne Merriman is the founder of Hospice Africa and Hospice Africa Uganda. She is presently Director of Policy and International Programmes. Here she tells the story of how HAU was founded. Dr Richard Harding is an academic researcher working on palliative care in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper described Dr Merriman's experience in pioneering palliative care provision. In particular it examines the steps to achieving wider availability of opioids for pain management for those with far advanced disease. Hospice Africa (...) Uganda has been a model facility in achieving high quality clinical care embedded in a strategy of advocacy and education, using a multifaceted approach that has addressed logistical, policy and legislative barriers. Until 1990 control of severe pain in Sub-Saharan Africa was non-existent except in Zimbabwe and S Africa. Oral affordable morphine was brought to Kenya through Nairobi Hospice that year, and to Uganda through Hospice Africa Uganda in 1993. This paper offers an example of a highly effective and cost efficient model of care that has transformed the ability to humanely manage the problems of those with terminal illness, and to offer a culturally appropriate "good death". Thus it is now possible to complete the ethical circle of care in resource poor circumstances. (shrink)
In this pioneering new book, Sandra Harding and Robert Figueroa bring together an important collection of original essays by leading philosophers exploring an extensive range of diversity issues for the philosophy of science and technology. The essays gathered in this volume extend current philosophical discussion of science and technology beyond the standard feminist and gender analyses that have flourished over the past two decades, by bringing a thorough and truly diverse set of cultural, racial, and ethical concerns to bear (...) on questioning in these areas. Science and Other Cultures charts important new directions in ongoing discussions of science and technology, and makes a significant contribution to both scholarly and teaching resources available in the field. (shrink)
In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, several feminist theorists began developing alternatives to the traditional methods of scientific research. The result was a new theory, now recognized as Standpoint Theory, which caused heated debate and radically altered the way research is conducted. The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader is the first anthology to collect the most important essays on the subject as well as more recent works that bring the topic up-to-date. Leading feminist scholar and one of the founders of Standpoint (...) Theory, Sandra Harding brings together the a prestigious list of scholars--Dorothy Smith, Donna Haraway, Patricia Hill Collins, Nancy Hartsock and Hilary Rose--to not only showcase the most influential essays on the topic but to also highlight subsequent developments of these approaches from a wide variety of disciplines and intellectual and political positions. The Reader will be essential reading for feminist scholars. (shrink)
Where the old objectivity question asked, Objectivity or relativism: which side are you on?, the new one refuses this choice, seeking instead to bypass widely recognized problems with the conceptual framework that restricts the choices to these two. It asks, How can the notion of objectivity be updated and made useful for contemporary knowledge-seeking projects? One response to this question is the strong objectivity program that draws on feminist standpoint epistemology to provide a kind of logic of discovery for maximizing (...) our ability to block might makes right in the sciences. It does so by delinking the neutrality ideal from standards for maximizing objectivity, since neutrality is now widely recognized as not only not necessary, not only not helpful, but, worst of all, an obstacle to maximizing objectivity when knowledge-distorting interests and values have constituted a research project. Strong objectivity provides a method for correcting this kind of situation. However, standpoint approaches have their own limitations which are quite different from the misreadings of them upon which most critics have tended to focus. Unfortunately, historically limited epistemologies and philosophies of science are all we get to choose from at this moment in history. (shrink)
Critical response to John Rawls’s The Law of Peoples has been surprisingly harsh.1 Most of the complaints center upon Rawls’ claim that there are no obligations of distributive justice among nations. Many of Rawls’s critics evidently had been hoping for a global application of the difference principle, so that wealthier nations would be bound to assign lexical priority to the development of the poorest nations, or perhaps the primary goods endowment of the poorest citizens of any nation. Their subsequent disappointment (...) reveals that, while the reception of Rawls’s political philosophy has been very broad, it has not been especially deep. Rawls has very good reason for denying that there are obligations of distributive justice in an international context. A global application of the difference principle would have been in tension with a number of very central features of his political philosophy. There is a sense in which Rawls’s claims about distributive justice, in The Law of Peoples, are under-argued. But this is primarily because they follow almost immediately from more fundamental commitments that he has adopted over the years: the idea of the basic structure as subject, the requirement that conceptions of justice be freestanding, the status that is assigned to the principle of efficiency, not to mention the overall pragmatism that informs his project. By drawing upon these themes in Rawls’ work, I will try to show that one cannot deny the view of international relations outlined in The Law of Peoples without rejecting Rawls’s approach to political philosophy as a whole (in all contexts, including the domestic one). (shrink)
This paper raises a challenge for those who assume that corporate social responsibility and good corporate governance naturally go hand-in-hand. The recent spate of corporate scandals in the United States and elsewhere has dramatized, once again, the severity of the agency problems that may arise between managers and shareholders. These scandals remind us that even if we adopt an extremely narrow concept of managerial responsibility – such that we recognize no social responsibility beyond the obligation to maximize shareholder value – (...) there may still be very serious difficulties associated with the effective institutionalization of this obligation. It also suggests that if we broaden managerial responsibility, in order to include extensive responsibilities to various other stakeholder groups, we may seriously exacerbate these agency problems, making it even more difficult to impose effective discipline upon managers. Hence, our central question: is a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility institutionally feasible? In searching for an answer, we revisit the history of public management, and in particular, the experience of social-democratic governments during the 1960s and 1970s, and their attempts to impose social responsibility upon the managers of nationalized industries. The results of this inquiry are less than encouraging for proponents of corporate social responsibility. In fact, the history of public-sector management presents a number of stark warnings, which we would do well to heed if we wish to reconcile robust social responsibility with effective corporate governance. (shrink)
: Feminist standpoint theory remains highly controversial: it is widely advocated, used to guide research and justify its results, and yet is also vigorously denounced. This essay argues that three such sites of controversy reveal the value of engaging with standpoint theory as a way of reflecting on and debating some of the most anxiety-producing issues in contemporary Western intellectual and political life. Engaging with standpoint theory enables a socially relevant philosophy of science.
One of the most influential ideas in the field of business ethics has been the suggestion that ethical conduct in a business context should be analyzed in terms of a set of fiduciary obligations toward various “stakeholder” groups. Moral problems, according to this view, involve reconciling such obligations in cases where stakeholder groups have conflicting interests. The question posed in this paper is whether the stakeholder paradigm represents the most fruitful way of articulating the moral problems that arise in business. (...) By way of contrast, I outline two other possible approaches to business ethics: one, a more minimal conception, anchored in the notion of a fiduciary obligation toward shareholders; and the other, a broader conception, focused on the concept of market failure. I then argue that the latter offers a more satisfactory framework for the articulation of the social responsibilities of business. (shrink)
One of the arguments that is often advanced in defence of the public health care system in Canada appeals to the idea that medical care should not be treated as a “commodity.” The recent Romanow Report on the Future of Health Care in Canada, for instance, says that, “Canadians view medicare as a moral enterprise, not a business venture.”1 Public provision is then urged on the grounds that this is the only mode of delivery compatible with this constraint. This argument (...) has received surprisingly little scrutiny, despite the important role that it plays in structuring the recommendations of the report, not to mention the broader public debate. This is unfortunate, since not only is it, in my view, a bad argument, but it is one that actually obscures the rationale for the current public system. It encourages the widely shared misperception that health care is a pure public good in our society (financed through taxation, then provided “for free” to all citizens). Provincial governments in Canada do not, for the most part, deliver health care services directly to the population. What they provide instead is health insurance. They rely primarily upon the private sector to deliver care. Thus the Canadian health care system more closely resembles what is often described as a quasi-market, or a “public market.” The justification for the role of the public sector in health care can be traced back to market failure in the insurance sector, and not in the market for health care services. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Humean theories of moral motivation appear preferable to Kantian approaches only if one assumes a broadly foundationalist conception of rational justification. Like foundationalist approaches to justification generally, Humean psychology aims to counter the regress-of-justification argument by positing a set of ultimate regress-stoppers-in this case, unmotivated desires. If the need for regress-stoppers of this type in the realm of practical deliberation is accepted, desires do indeed appear to be the most likely candidate. But if this (...) foundationalist strategy is rejected, there is no longer any reason to suppose that all motivation must be traceable to some extra-rational incentive. This clears the way for a rehabilitation of the Kantian claim that reasons for action can take the form of categorical imperatives. To illustrate this thesis, I show how a conception of practical rationality that incorporates a contextualist model of justification can be developed that treats social norms as reasons for action, without assigning any mediating role to agent desires. a theory of action of this type eliminates the gap between moral obligation and action, and so articulates the fundamental Kantian intuition that acting on the basis of moral principle-and with disregard for self-interest-is just one way of acting rationally. (shrink)
There is an idea, extremely common among social contract theorists, that the primary function of social institutions is to secure some form of cooperative benefit. If individuals simply seek to satisfy their own preferences in a narrowly instrumental fashion, they will find themselves embroiled in collective action problems – interactions with an outcome that is worse for everyone involved than some other possible outcome. Thus they have reason to accept some form of constraint over their conduct, in order to achieve (...) this superior, but out-of-equilibrium outcome. A social institution can be defined as a set of norms that codify these constraints.1 Simplifying somewhat, one can then say that social institutions exist in order to secure gains in Pareto-efficiency. (shrink)
The prevalence of white-collar crime casts a long shadow over discussions in business ethics. One of the effects that has been the development of a strong emphasis upon questions of moral motivation within the field. Often in business ethics, there is no real dispute about the content of our moral obligations, the question is rather how to motivate people to respect them. This is a question that has been studied quite extensively by criminologists as well, yet their research has had (...) little impact on the reflections of business ethicists. In this article, I attempt to show how a criminological perspective can help to illuminate some traditional questions in business ethics. I begin by explaining why criminologists reject three of the most popular folk theories of criminal motivation. I go on to discuss a more satisfactory theory, involving the so-called “techniques of neutralization,” and its implications for business ethics. (shrink)
Joseph Heath1 The Pareto principle states that if a proposed change in the condition of society makes at least one person better off, and does not make anyone else worse off, then that change should be regarded as an improvement. This principle forms the conceptual core of modern welfare economics, and exercises enormous influence in contemporary discussions of justice and equality. It does, however, have an Achilles’ heel. When an individual experiences envy, it means that improvements in the condition of (...) others may worsen the condition of that individual. As a result, envy has the potential to block a vast range of changes that we might intuitively be inclined to regard as Pareto improvements. (Or more precisely, envy results in too many states getting classified as Pareto-optimal, not because, intuitively, they cannot be improved upon, but because no one’s condition can be improved upon without making someone else envious.) For example, a market exchange between two people might not wind up being classified as a Pareto improvement if the benefits produced for the two parties generated envy in some otherwise uninvolved third. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ. — Robert Brandom a tenté de déplacer le concept de représentation de sa position de concept explicatif central en philosophie du langage et de le remplacer par un ensemble de concepts explicatifs dérivés de l’analyse de l’action sociale. Il soutient que le concept de norme sociale peut servir de concept primitif dans le développement d’une théorie générale de la signification. Selon Brandom, le problème central lié au fait de considérer la représentation comme un primitif explicatif est que nous n’avons (...) pas une compréhension claire de ce à quoi correspond la relation de « représentation ». Il est donc naturel de s’attendre à ce que Brandom utilise, dans son analyse de l’action sociale, des primitifs explicatifs qui sont, d’une certaine manière, moins mystérieux. En particulier, on s’attend à ce que Brandom démontre que le concept de « norme sociale » peut être compris en termes d’un ensemble plus simple de concepts issus de la philosophie de l’action. Malheureusement, Brandom ne fournit pas une telle explication. Dans cet article, je commence par analyser l’argument proposé par Brandom, et je tente d’expliquer pourquoi cet argument, en définitive, n’est pas concluant. J’essaie ensuite de développer l’explication des origines de la normativité dans l’action sociale que, selon moi, Brandom aurait dû donner. (shrink)
One of the most persistent legacies of Karl Marx and the Young Hegelians has been the centrality of the concept of “ideology” in contemporary social criticism. The concept was introduced in order to account for a very specific phenomenon, viz. the fact that individuals often participate in maintaining and reproducing institutions under which they are oppressed or exploited. In the extreme, these individuals may even actively resist the efforts of anyone who tries to change these institutions on their behalf. Clearly, (...) some explanation needs to be given of how individuals could systematically fail to see where their interests lie, or how they might fail to pursue these interests once these have been made clear to them. This need is often felt with some urgency, since failure to provide such an explanation usually counts as prima facie evidence against the claim that these individuals are genuinely oppressed or exploited in the first place. (shrink)
Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud provided powerful accounts of systematic interested ignorance. Fifty years ago, Anglo-American philosophies of science stigmatized Marx's and Freud's analyses as models of irrationality. They remain disvalued today, at a time when virtually all other humanities and social science disciplines have returned to extract valuable insights from them. Here the argument is that there are reasons distinctive to philosophy why such theories were especially disvalued then and why they remain so today. However, there are even better (...) reasons today for philosophy to break from this history and find more fruitful ways to engage with systematic interested ignorance. (shrink)
The past decade has seen intensified calls for the reform of democratic political institutions in Canada, on the grounds that there is a “democracy deficit” at the level of federal politics. Some commentators have even begun to describe the country as a “banana republic,” or a “friendly dictatorship.”1 Yet any attempt to assess the state of democracy in Canada must naturally presuppose some theory of what democracy is – how to identify it, and how to tell whether it is performing (...) well or not. Unfortunately, there is no widely accepted theoretical account of what makes democracies democratic – or more specifically, there is no account of precisely how democratic institutions serve to confer legitimacy upon the power of the state. Public debate in Canada over the “democracy deficit” has been implicitly dominated by the populist tradition, which identifies democracy with the practice of voting. Thus most of the proposals for correcting the democracy deficit involve having more people vote on more issues, more often. Yet democratic societies function through a complex set of institutions and practices, which include but are not limited to the practice of voting. Democratic societies are also characterized by the rule of law, the protection of individual rights and liberties, the freedom of assembly and debate, a free press, competitive political parties, consultative and deliberative exercises, and a wide variety of representative institutions. If any of these elements were absent, we would hesitate to say that the society was fully democratic. (shrink)
One of the unspoken assumptions quite widely shared among moral philosophers is the belief that human beings have a unified moral pyschology. Roughly speaking, morality involves action that is, at least prima facie, contrary to self-interest. This generates two immediate problems. The first involves determining whether moral action, under this description, is possible, and if it is, explaining how such action might come about (e.g. what the underlying intentional structure might be). The second involves the normative task of justifying a (...) moral course of action to an agent who, perhaps disposed to act this way, nevertheless wonders why he should not revise his goals to assign greater priority to self-interest. Attempts to address the second problem typically – although not always – presuppose some answer to the first problem, since it is difficult to know how to address an argument to a person without having at least a general sense of which intentional states of that person one is seeking to modify. Thus no matter how “metaethical” the reflections of moral philosophers may become, their theories are typically structured by a (more or less explicit) picture of how moral reflection gets translated into action. In other words, they all presuppose some characterization of the psychological mechanism that enables us to expand our circle of concern beyond self-interest, narrowly construed. Unfortunately, it is often the normative dimension – the desire to justify moral obligations – that drives the project, leading philosophers simply to posit the psychology that seems to them most conducive to the construction of such an argument.1 And since the normative argument usually has a fairly linear structure, it is only necessary to posit one psychological mechanism; as a result, only one.. (shrink)
Kin selection, reciprocity and group selection are widely regarded as evolutionary mechanisms capable of sustaining altruism among humans andother cooperative species. Our research indicates, however, that these mechanisms are only particular examples of a broader set of evolutionary possibilities.In this paper we present the results of a series of simple replicator simulations, run on variations of the 2–player prisoner's dilemma, designed to illustrate the wide range of scenarios under which altruism proves to be robust under evolutionary pressures. The set of (...) mechanisms we explore is divided into four categories:correlation, group selection, imitation, and punishment. We argue that correlation is the core phenomenon at work in all four categories. (shrink)
It is not clear whether the social contract is supposed to merely supplement the unequal gains that individuals are able to make through the exercise of their natural endowments with a set of equal gains secured through social cooperation, or whether the social contract must also compensate individuals for the effects of these natural inequalities, so that they literally become all equal. The issue concerns, in effect, whether natural inequality falls within the scope of egalitarian justice. I think it is (...) fair to say that the majority of egalitarians assume that the principle of equality imposes an obligation to redress natural inequality. Yet there is no consensus on this issue. David Gauthier has made the rejection of the principle of redress a central component of his project. It has often escaped notice that John Rawls also rejects the principle of redress. Thus it is not just anti-egalitarians who reject the principle of redress. There is a current of egalitarian thought – which we might call, for lack of a better term, narrow-scope.. (shrink)
After the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, conservatives in this country were almost unanimous in their conviction that it was time for Canada to throw in the towel as an independent nation. Historian Michael Bliss was first out of the blocks, arguing that “although we may still chant the camp songs of Canadian sovereignty, there is probably no turning back. We are heading toward some kind of greater North American union.”1 Others were quick to chime (...) in, barely able to conceal their satisfaction at the thought that Canada would finally get its comeuppance for having, on so many occasions, defied the regional hegemon.2 Yet less than two years later, with Canada-U.S. relations at an all-time low, not only did the prospects for regional integration seem dimmer than ever, but existing arrangements like NAFTA even began to show signs of strain in the face of renewed American unilateralism. (shrink)
A vision of a living code of ethics is proposed to counter the emphasis on negative phenomena in the study of organizational ethics. The living code results from the harmonious interaction of authentic leadership, five key organizational processes (attraction–selection–attrition, socialization, reward systems, decision-making and organizational learning), and an ethical organizational culture (characterized by heightened levels of ethical awareness and a positive climate regarding ethics). The living code is the cognitive, affective, and behavioral manifestation of an ethical organizational identity. We draw (...) on business ethics literature, positive organizational scholarship, and management literature to outline the elements of positive ethical organizations as those exemplary organizations consistently practicing the highest levels of organizational ethics. In a positive ethical organization, the right thing to do is the only thing to do. (shrink)
In the economic literature on the firm, especially in the transaction-cost tradition, a sharp distinction is drawn between so-called “market transactions” and “administered transactions.” This distinction is of enormous importance for business ethics, since market transactions are governed by the competitive logic of the market, whereas administered transactions are subject to the cooperative norms that govern collective action in a bureaucracy. The widespread failure to distinguish between these two types of transactions, and thus to distinguish between adversarial and non-adversarial relations, (...) has led many business ethicists to develop a “uniform” moral code. Yet in market transactions, the checks and balances built into the system of commercial exchange are such as to permit more instrumental forms of behavior. In administered transactions, by contrast, these checks and balances are absent, and thus the institutional context calls for much greater exercise of moral restraint. In this paper, I begin the task of developing an adversarial ethic for business. According to this view, the competitive environment licenses a greater range of “self-interested” behavior, but also imposes its own constraints on the strategies that firms may adopt in the pursuit of their interests. (shrink)
(1968 ). It amounts to the claim that social phenomena must be explained by showing how they result from individual actions, which in turn must be explained through reference to the intentional states that motivate the individual actors. It involves, in other words, a commitment to the primacy of what Talcott Parsons would later call “the action frame of reference” (Parsons 1937: 43-51) in social-scientific explanation. It is also sometimes described as the claim that explanations of “macro” social phenomena must (...) be supplied with “micro” foundations, ones that specify an action-theoretic mechanism (Alexander, 1987). (shrink)
This study examines the use of a modified form of the theory of planned behavior in understanding the decisions of undergraduate students in engineering and humanities to engage in cheating. We surveyed 527 randomly selected students from three academic institutions. Results supported the use of the model in predicting ethical decision-making regarding cheating. In particular, the model demonstrated how certain variables (gender, discipline, high school cheating, education level, international student status, participation in Greek organizations or other clubs) and moral constructs (...) related to intention to cheat, attitudes toward cheating, perceptions of norms with respect to cheating, and ultimately cheating behaviors. Further the relative importance of the theory of planned behavior constructs was consistent regardless of context, whereas the contributions of variables included in the study that were outside the theory varied by context. Of particular note were findings suggesting that the extent of cheating in high school was a strong predictor of cheating in college and that engineering students reported cheating more frequently than students in the humanities, even when controlling for the number of opportunities to do so. (shrink)
In this paper, I would like to discuss two recent attempts to incorporate groupdifferentiated rights and entitlements into a broadly liberal conception of distributive justice. The first is John Roemer’s “pragmatic theory of responsibility,” and the second is Will Kymlicka’s defense of minority rights in “multinational” states.1 Both arguments try to show that egalitarianism, far from requiring a “color-blind” system of institutions and laws that is insensitive to ethnic, linguistic or subcultural differences, may in fact mandate special types of rights, (...) entitlements, or compensatory arrangements for members of minority groups. These proposals are attractive because they attempt to ground these special rights without reference to controversial philosophical doctrines, but merely through appeal to the widely accepted political norm of equality. Furthermore, if either of these arguments were to succeed, it would allow liberals to avoid many of the difficulties that have often led proponents of “the politics of difference” or the “politics of recognition” to adopt an oppositional stance toward more traditional forms of liberalism.2.. (shrink)
David Gauthier tries to defend morality by showing that rational agents would choose to adopt a fundamental choice disposition that permits them to cooperate in prisoner's dilemmas. In this paper, I argue that Gauthier, rather than trying to work out a prudential justification for his favored choice disposition, should opt for a transcendental justification. I argue that the disposition in question is the product of socialization, not rational choice. However, only agents who are socialized in such a way that they (...) acquire a disposition of this type could acquire the capacity to use language. Given the internal connection between language and thought, this means that no agent endowed with such a disposition could rationally choose to adopt another. Thus rational reflection by moral agents upon their own fundamental choice disposition will have no tendency to destabilize it. (shrink)
Mid-Twentieth Century declarations characterizing science as a 'Little democracy' and as autonomous from society continue to shape the arguments of scientists' and critics of science studies, including Meera Nanda's arguments. Yet such an image of science has long lost whatever empirical support it ever posessed. This article shares Nanda's concern to envision sciences which support social justice projects, but not the particular criticisms she makes of Feminist, post-colonial, and post-kuhnian science studies.
Thorstein Veblen is perhaps best thought of as America’s answer to Karl Marx. This is sometimes obscured by the rather unfortunate title of his most important work, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), which misleading, insofar as it suggests that the book is just a theory of the “leisure class.” What the book provides is in fact a perfectly general theory of class, not to mention property, economic development, and social evolution. It is, in other words, a system of (...) theory that rivals Marx’s historical materialism with respect to scope, generality and explanatory power. Furthermore, it is a system of theory whose central predictions, with respect to the development of capitalism and the possibilities for emancipatory social change, have proven to be essentially correct. When stacked up against Marx’s prognostications, this success clearly provides the basis for what might best be described as an invidious comparison. (shrink)
John McCumber's Time in the Ditch: American Philosophy and the McCarthy Era provides a compelling account of a repressed part of philosophy's history and its tragic consequences for subsequent decades of philosophic practice in the U.S. Political values and interests originating in McCarthyism got encoded within abstract conceptual frameworks, propelling analytic philosophy to an undeserved position of authority while depriving it of critical self-understanding. This comment identifies residues of McCarthyism still playing out in the Science Wars, and the career of (...) critical philosophic projects in both other disciplines and philosophy's feminist and multicultural fringes. (shrink)
One of the most commonly observed peculiarities of the instrumental conception of rationality is that when applied in contexts of social interaction it sometimes prescribes actions that will predictably result in suboptimal outcomes. Often these outcomes could be avoided if agents were able to credibly commit themselves to refraining from exercising certain options available to them. The prisoners’ dilemma is the classic example. This problem has generated a small growth industry of attempts to modify the instrumental model in order to (...) incorporate commitments. The reason that philosophers are so attracted to this project is that it seems to offer them an opportunity to ﬁnish off the job that Socrates began, viz. to refute moral skepticism of the ‘rational egoist’ variety.1 None of this has worked very well, but enthusiasm for the project appears to continue unabated. (shrink)
In the economic literature on the firm, especially in the transaction–cost tradition, a sharp distinction is drawn between so-called “market transactions” and “administered transactions.” This distinction is of enormous importance for business ethics, since market transactions are governed by the competitive logic of the market, whereas administered transactions are subject to the cooperative norms that govern collective action in a bureaucracy. The widespread failure to distinguish between these two types of transactions, and thus to distinguish between adversarial and non-adversarial relations, (...) has led many business ethicists to develop a “uniform” moral code. Yet in market transactions, the checks and balances built into the system of commercial exchange are such as to permit more instrumental forms of behavior. In administered transactions, by contrast, these checks and balances are absent, and thus the institutional context calls for much greater exercise of moral restraint. In this paper, I begin the task of developing an adversarial ethic for business. According to this view, the competitive environment licenses a greater range of “self-interested” behavior, but also imposes its own constraints on the strategies that firms may adopt in the pursuit of their interests. (shrink)
Few issues in business ethics are as polarizing as the practice of risk classification and underwrit ing in the insurance industry. Theorists who approach the issue from a background in economics often start from the assumption that policy-holders should be charged a rate that reflects the ex pected loss that they bring to the insurance scheme. Yet theorists who approach the question from a background in philosophy or civil rights law often begin with a presumption against socalled “actuarially fair” premiums (...) and in favor of “community rating,” in which everyone is charged the same price. This paper begins by examining and rejecting the three primary argu ments that have been given to show that actuarially fair premiums are unjust. It then considers the two primary arguments that have been offered by those who wish to defend the practice of risk classification. These arguments overshoot their target, by requiring a “freedom to under write” that is much greater than the level of freedom enjoyed in most other commercial transac tions. The paper concludes by presenting a defense of a more limited right to underwrite, one that grants the legitimacy of the central principle of risk classification, but permits specific deviations from that ideal when other important social goods are at stake. (shrink)
Less than a decade ago, “rational choice theory” seemed oddly impervious to criticism. Hundreds of books, articles and studies were published every year, attacking the theory from every angle, yet it continued to attract new converts. How times have changed! The “anomalies” that Richard Thaler once blithely cataloged for the Journal of Economic Perspectives are now widely regarded, not as curious deviations from the norm, but as falsifying counterexamples to the entire project of neoclassical economics. The work of experimental game (...) theorists has perhaps been the most influential in showing that people do not maximize expected utility, in any plausible sense of the terms “maximize,” “expected,” or “utility.” The evidence is so overwhelming and incontrovertible that, by the time one gets to the end of a book like Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational,1 it begins to feel like piling on. The suggestion is pretty clear: not only are people not as rational as decision and game theorists have traditionally taken them to be, they are not even as rational as they themselves take themselves to be. This conclusion, however, is not self-evident. The standard interpretation of these findings is that people are irrational: their estimation of probabilities is vulnerable to framing effects, their treatment of (equivalent) losses and gains is asymmetric, their choices violate the sure-thing principle, they discount the future hyperbolically, and so on. Indeed, after surveying the experimental findings, one begins to wonder how people manage to get on in their daily lives at all, given the seriousness and ubiquity of these deliberative pathologies. And yet, most people do manage to get on, in some form or another. This in itself suggests an.. (shrink)
One of the most unsatisfactory sections of Robert Brandom's very complex and difficult book, Making it Explicit, is, unfortunately, the very first chapter.1 Brandom's general objective in this work is to displace the concept of representation from its position as the central explanatory concept in the philosophy of language and epistemology, and replace it with some set of explanatory concepts derived from the analysis of social action or practice. In particular, he wants to argue that the concept of a social (...) norm – a rule that determines, implicitly or explicitly, whether an action is correct or incorrect – can serve as a primitive concept in the development of a general theory of meaning. Successful execution of such a program would therefore constitute a vindication of some of the core intuitions underlying philosophical pragmatism. (shrink)
Aristotle's claim that natural slaves do not possess autonomous rationality (Pol. 1.5, 1254b20-23) cannot plausibly be interpreted in an unrestricted sense, since this would conflict with what Aristotle knew about non-Greek societies. Aristotle's argument requires only a lack of autonomous practical rationality. An impairment of the capacity for integrated practical deliberation, resulting from an environmentally induced excess or deficiency in thumos (Pol. 7.7, 1327b18-31), would be sufficient to make natural slaves incapable of eudaimonia without being obtrusively implausible relative to what (...) Aristotle is likely to have believed about non-Greeks. Since Aristotle seems to have believed that the existence of people who can be enslaved without injustice is a hypothetical necessity, if those capable of eudaimonia are to achieve it, the existence of natural slaves has implications for our understanding of Aristotle's natural teleology. (shrink)
Most political theorists became acquainted with the work of Jürgen Habermas through his 1973 publication of Legitimationsprobleme im Spätkapitalismus (which became available in English two years later as Legitimation Crisis). In this work, Habermas argued that the traditional Marxist analysis of crisis tendencies in the capitalist system was outdated, given the relative success of the welfare-state compromise. He claimed instead that crisis tendencies generated in the economic sphere would be displaced, via state action, into the cultural sphere. This would in (...) turn create problems of social integration, undermining many of the resources that the state requires for its ongoing management of the economy. In particular, it creates the possibility of a large-scale loss of legitimacy for government institutions. Even though this thesis was not especially new, Habermas’s analysis offered the promise of a more rigorous formulation of the mechanism through which these undesirable cultural sideeffects would be generated. However, Habermas billed his discussion in Legitimation Crisis as only a set of “programmatic” suggestions. Despite being provocative, they were in no sense articulated at a satisfactory level of detail. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Habermas has gone on to a considerable refinement of his broadly sociotheoretic views, he has never returned to an explicit treatment of the principal issues raised in Legitimation Crisis. Nevertheless, through a number of brief discussions that appear in his later work, it is possible to piece.. (shrink)
The term “political” egalitarianism is used here, not to refer to equality within the political sphere, but rather in John Rawls’s sense, to refer to a conception of egalitarian distributive justice that is capable of serving as the object of an overlapping consensus in a pluralistic society.1 Thus “political” egalitarianism is political in the same way that Rawls’s “political” liberalism is political. The central task when it comes to developing such a conception of equality is to determine what constraints a (...) principle of equality must satisfy in order to qualify as “freestanding,” or to be justifiable in a way that does not presuppose the correctness of any one member of the set of reasonable yet incompatible “religious, philosophical and moral” doctrines that attract large numbers of adherents in our world.2 (Rawls uses the analogy of a “module” in order to describe the way that a properly political conception of justice “fits into and can be supported by various reasonable comprehensive doctrines that endure in the society regulated by it.”3 Political egalitarianism would be “modular” in this sense.) Rather than getting embroiled in the controversies that have arisen over Rawls’s formulation of this idea, I would like simply to accept the intuition, widespread among political philosophers, that equality is the sort of principle that – if given a proper formulation – could satisfy the requirements of a political conception of justice. After all, regardless of what peoples’ projects, values, or conceptions of the good life may be, it should be possible to design a set of arrangements that would provide equal opportunity to pursue these goals, or that would treat each conception of the good with equal respect, etc. From this perspective, the principle of equality resembles the principle of Pareto-efficiency, or certain formulations of the principle of liberty – it is one that everyone should be able to endorse, insofar as it does not privilege, or presuppose the correctness of, any particular set of projects, values.. (shrink)
This collection of essays, first published two decades ago, presents central feminist critiques and analyses of natural and social sciences and their philosophies. Unfortunately, in spite of the brilliant body of research and scholarship in these fields in subsequent decades, the insights of these essays remain as timely now as they were then: philosophy and the sciences still presume kinds of social innocence to which they are not entitled. The essays focus on Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Marx; on (...) the 'adversary method' model of philosophic reasoning; on principles of individuation on philosophical ontology and philosophy of language; on individualistic assumptions in psychology; functionalism in sociological and biological theory; evolutionary theory; the methodology of political science; and conceptions of objective inquiry in the sciences. In taking insights of both Liberal and Marxian women's movements into the purportedly most abstract and value-free areas of Western thought, these essays chart sexist and androcentric assumptions, claims and practices in the cognitive, technical cores of Western sciences and their philosophies. They begin to identify the distinctive aspects of women's experiences and locations in male-supremacist social structures which can provide resources needed for the creation of post-androcentric thinking in research, scholarship, and public policy. Such uses of feminist insights remain controversial today, and even among some feminists. These authors were all junior researchers and scholars two decades ago; today many are among the most distinguished senior scholars in their fields. Their work here provides a splendid opportunity for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and the social sciences to explore some of the most intriguing and controversial challenges to disciplinary projects and to public policy today. (shrink)
The spectacular corporate scandals and bankruptcies of the past decade have served as a powerful reminder of the risks that are involved in the ownership of enterprise. Unlike other patrons of the firm, owners are residual claimants on its earnings.1 As a result, they have no explicit contract to protect their interests, but rely instead upon formal control of the decision-making apparatus of the firm in order to ensure that their interests are properly respected by managers. (...) class='Hi'> In a standard business corporation, it is the shareholders who stand in this relationship to the firm. Yet as the recent wave of corporate scandals has demonstrated once again, it can be extraordinarily difficult for shareholders to exercise effective control of management, or more generally, for the firm to achieve the appropriate alignment of interests between managers and owners. After all, it is shareholders who were the ones most hurt by the scandals at Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, Parmalat, Hollinger, and elsewhere. For every employee at Enron who lost a job, shareholders lost at least US$4 million.2 Furthermore, employees escaped with their human capital largely intact. Creditors and suppliers continue to pick over the bones of the corporation (which still exists, under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and continues to liquidate assets in order to pay off its debts).3 But as far as shareholders are concerned, their investments have simply evaporated, beyond any realistic hope of retrieval. (In fact, one of the reasons that Enron’s collapse was particularly damaging to its employees was that so many of them were also shareholders, through the company ESOP and their 401k plans.). (shrink)
1Department of Philosophy, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, 2 ´ ´ ´ Canada; Departement de Philosophie, Universite de Montreal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville.
s argument for resource egalitarianism has as its centerpiece a thought experiment involving a group of shipwreck survivors washed ashore on an uninhabited island, who decide to divide up all of the resources on the island equally using a competitive auction. Unfortunately, Dworkin misunderstands how the auction mechanism works, and so misinterprets its significance for egalitarian political philosophy. First, he makes it seem as though there is a conceptual connection between the envy-freeness standard and the auction, when in fact there (...) is none. Second, he fails to appreciate how idealized the conditions are that must be satisfied in order for his results to obtain. This leads him to draw practical conclusions from the thought experiment that do not follow, such as his claim that the principle of equality generates a presumption in favor of the market as a mechanism for the distribution of resources. The result is that Dworkin saddles resource egalitarianism with a set of commitments that are, in fact, inessential to that view. Key Words: Ronald Dworkin envy-freeness superfairness efficiency resource egalitarianism. (shrink)
Hayek's social theory presupposes that rules are unintended consequences of individual actions. This essay explicates one kind of Hayekian explanation of that claim. After noting the kinds of rules that Hayek believes are subject to such a theory, the essay distinguishes three functional explanations advocated by Hayek. He combines one of these functional explanations with an invisible hand explanation. A schema suitable for constructing invisible hand-functional evolutionary theories is employed to outline this combination.
Introduction -- Instrumental rationality -- Social order -- Deontic constraint -- Intentional states -- Preference noncognitivism -- A naturalistic perspective -- Transcendental necessity -- Weakness of will -- Normative ethics.
Habermas has argued that many of the endemic socio- economic problems of Western society are either symptoms or prod ucts of a 'lopsided' process of cultural rationalization, one that has emphasized instrumental forms of rationality over communicative. But other than presenting a rather general typology of lifeworld pathologies, Habermas has not done much to specify what these problems might be, nor has he provided any 'middle-range' analysis of the mechanisms through which they might be generated. This paper discusses some of (...) the ways in which, consistent with Haber mas's general framework, rational choice theory can be used for pre cisely this task. In this analysis, rational choice theory is not presented as a comprehensive theory of action, but is employed as a critical- diagnostic tool that allows the theorist to identify undesirable social interaction patterns that arise from a broader instrumentalization of the lifeworld. Key Words: critical theory Habermas instrumental rationality market failure rational choice theory. (shrink)
Critics of mass culture often identify 1950s-style status competition as one of the central forces driving consumerism. Thomas Frank has challenged this view, arguing that countercultural rebellion now provides the primary source of consumerism in our society, and that 'cool' has become its central ideological expression. This paper provides a rearticulation and defense of Frank's thesis, first identifying consumerism as a type of collective action problem, then showing how the 'hip consumer' is one who adopts a free-rider strategy in this (...) context. Key Words: advertising consumerism cool ideology prisoner's dilemma Thomas Frank. (shrink)
Even though the concept of a 'validity claim' is central to Habermas's theory of communicative action, he has never given a precise definition of the term. He has stated only that truth is a type of validity claim, and that rightness and sincerity are analogous to truth. This paper explores the basis of this analogy, arguing that rightness and sincerity must share at least two characteristics with the truth predicate: each must be the designated value in an appropriate system of (...) logic, and each must serve as the 'central notion' in a theory of meaning for some corresponding class of speech acts. It is these two characteristics that establish the internal connec tion between understanding and justification that Habermas's more general project requires. However, there is an unnoticed tension between these two characteristics, since the relative autonomy of linguistic meaning from specific contexts of use appears to require that speech acts be governed by a uniform logic, and thus by a single validity claim. Key Words: communicative action - Habermas - pragmatics - speech act theory - truth - validity claim. (shrink)
Recent "gender, environment, and sustainable development" accounts raise pointed questions about the complicity of Enlightenment philosophies of science with failures of Third World development policies and the current environmental crisis. The strengths of these analyses come from distinctive ways they link androcentric, economistic, and nature-blind aspects of development thinking to "the Enlightenment dream." In doing so they share perspectives with and provide resources for other influential schools of science studies.
The essay considers what respect demands and what trust demands when one person trusts another. What respect requires in responding to trust is substantial but limited, ranging from the sharply proscriptive to the mildly prescriptive. What trust requires is, in a sense, unlimited, its content depending on the extent to which the person who trusts, and more importantly the person who is trusted, seek to build a relationship characterised by trust and trustworthiness.
Two themes in postcolonial science studies pose unusual challenges for philosophers of science. According to these accounts, the cognitive/technical core of Western sciences, not just their technologies, applications, and social institutions, is permeated by distinctive cultural and political commitments. In this sense, Western sciences are "ethnosciences." Moreover, these analysts want to delink their societies' scientific and technological projects from the West's in order to develop fully modern sciences within their own culturally distinctive scientific traditions. This paper suggests some fruitful ways (...) Western philosophers can take advantage of this opportunity to construct theories of science for Westerners that can interact more realistically and fruitfully with these postcolonial accounts. (shrink)
Yet this is precisely what I intend to do. As a way of conferring some initial legitimacy Perhaps the most fundamental axiom of upon this enterprise, I would like to start out modern economic science is that there simply by appealing to the “no free lunch” is no such thing as a free lunch. It is principle. To adopt productivity growth as a this axiom that gives us the concept of opporsocial priority is to set aside other objectives tunity (...) cost, an idea that has led to enormous that we might like to pursue. Therefore, one gains in the clarity of our understanding of cannot maintain rational adherence to a proindividual and societal choice. But while congram of increased productivity without a clear tinuing to endorse this fundamental axiom, sense of what the beneﬁts of such a program many economists have also been extremely are likely to be, compared to the other things attracted by the appeal of increased economic that we might choose to do. The bulk of this efficiency. Efficiency gains are often treated, paper consists of an attempt to evaluate the if not exactly as a free lunch, certainly about size and scope of these beneﬁts. More controas close to a free lunch as one can get in this versially, I will try to show that these benesublunar realm. As a result, economists often ﬁts are often exaggerated. react with a certain incredulity when some- The conclusion that I draw on the basis one questions the need for such gains. It is of this survey will strike many as complacent. tempting to suppose that the critic simply But it is a principled complacency. I argue misunderstands the relevant concepts, or else that we have good reason, as a society, to strive fails to grasp the full set of constraints under for productivity gains, but that there is nothwhich economic activity occurs. ing urgent about this objective. Furthermore, Productivity growth is widely regarded we should not strive to maximize productivity as a subset of the efficiency gains that can be gains, nor should we be overly concerned realized in our economy.. (shrink)
This essay is concerned with defending Husserl against the criticism that he is insuffi ciently attentive to intersubjectivity. It has two moments; the fi rst articulates what I take to be a general version of the critique and then turns to a discussion of a version derived from Wittgenstein’s private language argument and the ensuing debate regarding this critique between Suzanne Cunningham and Peter Hutcheson. This discussion concludes by noting a general agreement betweenthe two participants that Husserl’s ego is not (...) directly involved in intersubjective relationships. I argue that as long as this is granted, the broader criticism cannot be answered. Whence, the second moment defends Husserl against this critique arguing that Husserl’s transcendental ego is an intersubjective one. (shrink)
Observers call for companies to establish codes of corporate social responsibility, but few have studied how companies become aware of and codify standards. This study of the practitioner's role in developing standards suggests that practitioners often are left out of ethical decision making, and that persons who prepare codes of ethical performance typically view external publics as less important than internal publics. Social science methods are widely recognized as helpful in identifying and establishing standards, although they are not actually used (...) very much. (shrink)