In the first part of the paper, factual information is given about developments in European business ethics since it started on a more or less institutionalized basis, five or six years ago. In the second part some comments are presented on the meaning of the developments and the possible causes. Attention is given to resemblances and differences between American and European business ethics. In the short last part some suggestions are proposed about tasks business ethics will face in the next (...) decade. (shrink)
Time has come to put business ethics explicitly on the agenda of those who bear responsibility in the business world and of the scholars working in the field of business administration sciences. Reflection should bear on specific issues of concern, but also on processes of decision in business practices and on patterns of thought at work inside issues and processes. What the issues are, which processes and patterns need scrutiny, is to be decided upon in the course of the public (...) normative debate in which ethicists, as experts of conceptual analysis and argumentation, and corporate executives as experts in decision-making each take an equal and fair share, as people who are able and willing to proffer an argued personal standpoint in an open debate. (shrink)
Business ethics in Westenr and Northern Europe has acquired a certain momentum during the last fifteen years, both as an academic discipline and as a point of reference in business policies. The article reports about developments in academia in various countries, and the founding of national and Europe-wide networks and organizations bringing together representatives from business as well as from universities. It presents sources of information on the state of affairs, and proposes some parameters by which the national varieties of (...) posssible alliances between ethical thinking and business policies can be depicted more adequately. The thesis of the report is that, in order to be operational, business ethics in Western and Northern Europe has to become part of the total configuration of economic, historical and ideological components that shape the social fabric on a national level. (shrink)
Business ethics has gradually acquired a stable status, both as an academic discipline and as a practice. Stakeholdership is recognised as a guiding concept, business has widely accepted that it has a license to operate to win from society at large, and operational instruments such as codes of ethics and forms of ethical auditing and accounting take shape more and more. Yet lacunae remain. Three are mentioned explicitly. Business ethics has to improve its relations with business law, the concept of (...) competition deserves much more ethical attention than it has received up to now, and the shifting relations between the market, governmental agencies and civil society require the elaboration of an institutional business ethics. (shrink)
In this paper I try to enlarge the scope of the questions commonly treated in business ethics. I first argue that not motives but action structures should form the basis of our analytical endeavours. I then distinguish three basic structures in human action: self-directed, other-including and other-directed actions. These structures, when linked with the concepts of interests and legitimate claims or rights, lead to a taxonomy of moral behaviour in business that I describe as, respectively, transactional, recognitional and participatory ethics, (...) three distinct realms of moral behaviour, each characterized by a specific set of moral principles and a special relation between moral agents. My contention is that, up to now, analysis in business ethics has largely been focused on issues in the field of recognitional ethics. The discipline itself as well as ethical practices in business may greatly profit by paying explicit attention to market morality and transactional ethics as well as to the non-enforceable we-alliances of a participatory ethics, increasingly possible and needed in present-day civil society. (shrink)
Van den Belt recently examined the notion that synthetic biology and the creation of ‘artificial’ organisms are examples of scientists ‘playing God’. Here I respond to some of the issues he raises, including some of his comments on my previous discussions of the value of the term ‘life’ as a scientific concept.
Abstract of “Reason and the structure of Davidson’s ‘Desire-Belief-Model’ ” by Henk bij de Weg -/- In the present discussion in the analytic theory of action, broadly two models for the explanation or justification of actions can be distinguished: the internalist and the externalist model. Against this background, I discuss Davidson’s version of the internalist Desire-Belief Model (DBM). First, I show that what Davidson calls “pro attitude” (a main element of his concept of reason) has two distinct meanings. An (...) implication of this is that Davidson’s DBM actually comprises two different models: the “classical” DBM and a model that has an extra premise, the “nonclassical” model. However, from another point of view one can say that the classical DBM is the nonclassical model in which a premise is missing. In order to determine which viewpoint is correct, I introduce Schütz’s distinction between “because-motives” and “in-order-to-motives”. With the help of this distinction, I can show that the classical DBM is an incomplete version of the nonclassical model. Besides of the premise that refers to the agent’s pro attitude, we need this extra premise in order to refer to the occasion as experienced by the agent that makes him or her act. Only then can we fully explain or justify an action. (shrink)
Amsterdam 2009 Henk W. De Regt ... Alan C. Love 16.1 When Philosophers of Science Disagree According to John Norton there are no universal rules of inductive inference (Norton 2003). Every formal theory put forward thus far (e.g., ...
This article analyzes the epistemic value of understanding and offers an account of the role of understanding in science. First, I discuss the objectivist view of the relation between explanation and understanding, defended by Carl Hempel and J. D. Trout. I challenge this view by arguing that pragmatic aspects of explanation are crucial for achieving the epistemic aims of science. Subsequently, I present an analysis of these pragmatic aspects in terms of ‘intelligibility’ and a contextual account of scientific understanding based (...) on this notion. †To contact the author, please write to: Faculty of Philosophy, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Achieving understanding of nature is one of the aims of science. In this paper we offer an analysis of the nature of scientific understanding that accords with actual scientific practice and accommodates the historical diversity of conceptions of understanding. Its core idea is a general criterion for the intelligibility of scientific theories that is essentially contextual: which theories conform to this criterion depends on contextual factors, and can change in the course of time. Our analysis provides a general account of (...) how understanding is provided by scientific explanations of diverse types. In this way, it reconciles conflicting views of explanatory understanding, such as the causal-mechanical and the unificationist conceptions. (shrink)
Most philosophers in the analytical philosophy answer the question what personal identity is in psychological terms. Arguments for substantiating this view are mainly based on thought experiments of brain transfer cases and the like in which persons change brains. However, in these thought experiments the remaining part of the body plays only a passive part. In this paper I argue that the psychological approach of personal identity cannot be maintained, if the whole body is actively involved in the analysis, and (...) that the body is an intrinsic part of what I am as a person. (shrink)
In consciousness studies, the first-person perspective, seen as a way to approach consciousness, is often seen as nothing but a variant of the third-person perspective. One of the most important advocates of this view is Dennett. However, as I show in critical interaction with Dennett’s view, the first-person perspective and the third-person perspective are different ways of asking questions about themes. What these questions are is determined by the purposes that we have when we ask them. Since our purposes are (...) different according to the perspective we take, each perspective has a set of leading questions of its own. This makes that the first-person perspective is an approach of consciousness that is substantially different from the third-person perspective, and that one cannot be reduced to the other. These perspectives are independent, although complementary approaches of the mind. (shrink)
In recent years the idea that an adequate semantics of ordinary language calls for some theory of events has sparked considerable debate among linguists and philosophers. Speaking of Events offers a vivid and up-to-date indication of this debate, with emphasis precisely on the interplay between linguistic applications and philosophical implications. Each chapter has been written expressly for this volume by leading authors in the field, including Nicholas Asher, Pier Marco Bertinetto, Johannes Brandl, Denis Delfitto, Regine Eckardt, James Higginbotham, Alessandro Lenci, (...) Terence Parsons, Alice ter Meulen, and Henk Verkuyl. (shrink)
The emergent new science of synthetic biology is challenging entrenched distinctions between, amongst others, life and non-life, the natural and the artificial, the evolved and the designed, and even the material and the informational. Whenever such culturally sanctioned boundaries are breached, researchers are inevitably accused of playing God or treading in Frankenstein’s footsteps. Bioethicists, theologians and editors of scientific journals feel obliged to provide an authoritative answer to the ambiguous question of the ‘meaning’ of life, both as a scientific definition (...) and as an explication with wider existential connotations. This article analyses the arguments mooted in the emerging societal debates on synthetic biology and the way its practitioners respond to criticism, mostly by assuming a defiant posture or professing humility. It explores the relationship between the ‘playing God’ theme and the Frankenstein motif and examines the doctrinal status of the ‘playing God’ argument. One particularly interesting finding is that liberal theologians generally deny the religious character of the ‘playing God’ argument—a response which fits in with the curious fact that this argument is used mainly by secular organizations. Synthetic biology, it is therefore maintained, does not offend so much the God of the Bible as a deified Nature. While syntheses of artificial life forms cause some vague uneasiness that life may lose its special meaning, most concerns turn out to be narrowly anthropocentric. As long as synthetic biology creates only new microbial life and does not directly affect human life, it will in all likelihood be considered acceptable. (shrink)
In his work on reasons Dretske argues that reasons are only worthwhile for having them if they are causally relevant for explaining behaviour, which he elaborates in his representational theory of explanation. The author argues against this view by showing that there are reasons that are relevant for explaining behaviour but not causally relevant. He gives a linguistic foundation of his argumentation and shows that Dretske’s representational theory cannot explain human actions because man does not only perceive things that have (...) already meaning but also assigns meanings to what (s)he perceives and that therefore reasons are fundamentally different from causes. (shrink)
J.D. Trout (2002) presents a challenge to all theorists of scientific explanation who appeal to the notion of understanding. Trout denounces understanding as irrelevant, if not dangerous, from an epistemic perspective and he endorses a radically objectivist view of explanation instead. In this note I accept Trout's challenge. I criticize his argument and defend a non-objectivist, pragmatic conception of understanding that is epistemically relevant.
This paper is about the semantic analysis of referentially opaque verbs like seek and owe that give rise to nonspecific readings. It is argued that Montague's categorization (based on earlier work by Quine) of opaque verbs as properties of quantifiers runs into two serious difficulties: the first problem is that it does not work with opaque verbs like resemble that resist any lexical decomposition of the seek ap try to find kind; the second one is that it wrongly predicts de (...) dicto (i.e. narrow scope) readings due to quantified noun phrases in the object positions of such verbs. It is shown that both difficulties can be overcome by an analysis of opaque verbs as operating on properties. This is a strongly modified version of a paper entitled lsquoDo We Bear Attitudes towards Quantifiers?rsquo that I have presented at conferences in Gosen (Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft), Ithaca (SALT I), and Konstanz (Lexikon). I owe a special debt to Hans Kamp and Arnim von Stechow for shaping my views on the subject of this paper during the past ten years or so. Comments from and discussions with the following friends and colleagues have also led to considerable improvements: Heinrich Beck, Steve Berman, David Dowty, Veerle van Geenhoven, Fritz Hamm, Irene Heim, Wolfgang Klein, Angelika Kratzer, Michael Morreau, Barbara Partee, Mats Rooth, Roger Schwarzschild, Wolfgang Sternefeld, Emil Weydert, Henk Zeevat, and three referees. (shrink)
Building on the work of Henk Bos and John Schuster, I will examine how the story of Descartes-the-philosopher and Descartes-the-mathematician proceeds in the years immediately following 1628. Specifically, I will focus on the 1633 Le Monde and the 1637 Geometry and hope to show that Descartes is still trying in this period to integrate his distinctively Cartesian version of math with his distinctively Cartesian version of philosophy. Being even more specific, I will look at the creation story presented in (...) Le Monde in conjunction with Descartes’ solution to the Pappus problem, which was published in the Geometry. On the reading I’ll offer, we find both a mathematical influence on the early metaphysics in Le Monde as well as (and this is the heart of my account) a metaphysical grounding for one very important part of the mathematical program that Descartes presents in the Geometry. (shrink)
In this paper I present my reflections on the ethics of science as described by Merton and as actually practiced by scientists and technologists. This ethics was the subject of Kuipers' paper "'Default norms' in Research Ethics" (Kuipers 2001). There is an implicit assumption in this ethics, notably in Merton's norm of communism, that knowledge is always, or unconditionally good, and hence that scientific research, and the dissemination of its results, is unconditionally good. I will give here reasons why scientists (...) are not permitted to proceed, as they actually do, on the basis of this assumption. There is no factual or other binding justification for this assumption, and the activities it gives rise to frequently conflict with the broadly accepted ethical principle of restricted liberty. A recent discussion on the risks and hazards of science and on the issue of relinquishment is presented. What is shown in this paper is that the scientists and technologists participating in this discussion frequently violate core values of science relating to logical and empirical scrutiny and systematic criticism, as mentioned in Merton's norms of universalism, organized skepticism, and disinterestedness. It is concluded that, in order to live up to these values and in order to operate in agreement with broader ethical principles, science should stimulate open and critical discussion on the hazards and negative effects of science and technology, and on the present failure on the part of law and politics to control those hazards and negative effects. Science should also take the possibility of relinquishing certain themes of research seriously as long as such flaws in the systems of law and political decision-making persist. (shrink)
One of the most important contributions of A. Church to logic is his invention of the lambda calculus. We present the genesis of this theory and its two major areas of application: the representation of computations and the resulting functional programming languages on the one hand and the representation of reasoning and the resulting systems of computer mathematics on the other hand.
UNESCO is an intergovernmental organization with 193 Member States. It is concerned with a broad range of issues regarding education, science and culture. It is the only UN organisation with a mandate in science. Since 1993 it is addressing ethics of science and technology, with special emphasis on bioethics. One major objective of the ethics programme is the development of international normative standards. This is particularly important since many Member States only have a limited infrastructure in bioethics, lacking expertise, educational (...) programs, bioethics committees and legal frameworks. UNESCO has recently adopted the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. The focus of current activities is now on implementation of this Declaration. Three activities are discussed that aim at improving and reinforcing the ethics infrastructure in relation to science and technology: the Global Ethics Observatory, the Ethics Education Programme and the Assisting Bioethics Committees project. (shrink)
Emphasis in historiography of science is naturally placed on the discoveries and inventions which scientists make and generally less on new methods of doing science, but sometimes the latter can he an important clue to help us understand the former. For example, while we all acknowledge how great the contributions of Maxwell, Boltzmann, Planck, and Einstein were to physics from roughly 1870 to 1920, we often overlook the significance of a methodological phrase which was popular during that same period, namely, (...) what in German was called “Bildtheorie” or in English “picture theory”. But even before we can properly study its significance we have to know what the theory was, but even this presents problems, since the meaning changed. In fact, this paper is an attempt not only to describe the history of that change from Maxwell to Wittgenstein but to study in particular how Boltzmann’s conception of Bildtheorie seems to have been at least partly incorporated into the approach of Ludwig Wittgenstein. (shrink)