This article understands codes of ethics as written documents that represent social actors in specific ways through the use of language. It presents an empirical study that investigated the codes of ethics of the German Dax30 companies. The study adopted a critical discourse analysis-approach in order to reveal how the code-texts produce a particular understanding of the various internal social groups for the readers. Language is regarded as social practice that functions at creating particular understandings of individuals and groups, how (...) they are interrelated, and how they should behave. Findings show that codes of ethics do not represent employees as a group that is empowered or morally enlightened; instead they are positioned as passive receivers of rules and regulations. Furthermore, codes of ethics classify employees as having a need to be monitored and controlled by the higher levels of the corporate hierarchy. Overall, code language enforces compliance through maintaining existing and building new asymmetries between the different groups within a company. As a consequence, the article discusses a somewhat different understanding of code effectiveness. Reproducing and reemphasizing hierarchical relations could also lead to code compliance, perhaps without any need for developing the moral employee that is committed to ethical values. (shrink)
By definition, the subjective probability distribution of a random event is revealed by the (‘rational’) subject's choice between bets — a view expressed by F. Ramsey, B. De Finetti, L. J. Savage and traceable to E. Borel and, it can be argued, to T. Bayes. Since hypotheses are not observable events, no bet can be made, and paid off, on a hypothesis. The subjective probability distribution of hypotheses (or of a parameter, as in the current ‘Bayesian’ statistical literature) is therefore (...) a figure of speech, an ‘as if’, justifiable in the limit. Given a long sequence of previous observations, the subjective posterior probabilities of events still to be observed are derived by using a mathematical expression that would approximate the subjective probability distribution of hypotheses, if these could be bet on. This position was taken by most, but not all, respondents to a ‘Round Robin’ initiated by J. Marschak after M. H. De-Groot's talk on Stopping Rules presented at the UCLA Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in Behavioral Sciences. Other participants: K. Borch, H. Chernoif, R. Dorfman, W. Edwards, T. S. Ferguson, G. Graves, K. Miyasawa, P. Randolph, L. J. Savage, R. Schlaifer, R. L. Winkler. Attention is also drawn to K. Borch's article in this issue. (shrink)
There are three propositions that this author demonstrates in his argument: (1) the contention that berkeley's attack on abstract ideas is not made wholly compatible with his atomic sensationalism, (2) that berkeley does not provide or employ a single definition or criterion for determining the limit of abstraction and (3) that the doctrine of abstract ideas furnishes no real support to berkeley's argument against the existence of material substance independent of perception. (staff).
Locke is what present-day aestheticians, critics, and historians call an intentionalist. He believes that when we interpret speech and writing, we aim—in large part and perhaps even for the most part—to recover the intentions, or intended meanings, of the speaker or writer. Berkeley and Hume shared Locke’s commitment to intentionalism, but it is a theme that recent philosophical interpreters of all three writers have left largely unexplored. In this paper I discuss the bearing of intentionalism on more familiar themes in (...) empiricist reflections on language, among them the signification of things (as opposed to ideas); the signifying role of whole propositions; and the possibility of reference to an “external” world. (shrink)
George Berkeley is one of the greatest and most influential modern philosophers. In defending the immaterialism for which he is most famous, he redirected modern thinking about the nature of objectivity and the mind's capacity to come to terms with it. Along the way, he made striking and influential proposals concerning the psychology of the senses, the workings of language, the aims of science, and the scope of mathematics. In this Companion volume a team of distinguished authors not only examines (...) Berkeley's achievements but also his neglected contributions to moral and political philosophy, his writings on economics and development, and his defense of religious commitment and religious life. The volume places Berkeley's achievements in the context of the many social and intellectual traditions - philosophical, scientific, ethical, and religious - to which he fashioned a distinctive response. (shrink)
This article offers a new reading of Heidegger's thesis of the animal in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Framing Heidegger's text through a brief analysis of Protagoras' genetic story of nature and of man's nature in Plato's eponymous dialogue, our reading brings out three key elements common to both texts: living nature as a normative rather than a physical order, the poverty of man's world in relation to the animal, and the attempted redemption of the latter through the acquisition of (...) Weltbildung. Staying with the way Heidegger brings out man's poverty in world in the text allows us (i) to undo once for all the oft-repeated charge of Heidegger's anthropocentric interpretation of the animal, (ii) to stage the hypothesis that philosophy and the life sciences of his day draw upon a common basic experience of the autonomy of life in relation to everything human, all-too-human, and (iii) to demonstrate the normativity and poverty of life. (shrink)
In this paper we examine Nietzsche’s relation to the life sciences of his time and to Darwinism in particular, arguing that his account of the will to power in terms of technics eschews three metaphysical prejudices, hylemorphism, utilitarianism, and teleological thinking. Telescoping some of Nietzsche’s pronouncements on the will to power with a Bergsonian lens, our reading of the will to power, as an operation productive of time, the future or life, offers an alternative to Heidegger’s. Rather than being reducible (...) to a technics of domination or mastery, the will to power, we argue, is best interpreted as a technics of material forces that recasts all things past and future, near and far, moment by moment. (shrink)
This paper compares and critically comments upon certain aspects of the Canadian Law Reform Commission Report,Euthanasia, Aiding Suicide and Cessation of Treatment, and the United States Presidential Commission Report,Deciding to Forego Life-Sustaining Treatment. It focuses on their positions on euthanasia and on the general principles, values, and procedures that ought to govern practices of foregoing life-sustaining treatment. The paper first comments on the recent debate over the moral relevance of the killing/letting die distinction, since this issue appears crucial in assessing (...) the rationality of the current, absolute prohibitions of direct killing in medical contexts, embodied both in law and in codes of ethics. This issue bears upon a question in the closing section—whether the withdrawal of foods and fluids is ever morally permissible. (shrink)
On the first page of this very timely paper the author quotes Linda Gordon: This statement provides a theme for response to Jing-Bao Nie's arguments. In reading this paper, I found myself reminded of two of George Orwell's insights: (1) When governments use euphemisms they are usually up to no good: [e.g., the use of for abortion]. (2) Sexuality and the sexual act (I would add here reproduction—having children) can be a powerful tool of subversion and rebellion. One's sexuality (and (...) reproductive ability) can be the last line of defense against repression or authority. (shrink)
The regular behavior of sound sources helps us to make sense of the auditory environment. Regular patterns may, for instance, convey information on the identity of a sound source (such as the acoustic signature of a train moving on the rails). Yet typically, this signature overlaps in time with signals emitted from other sound sources. It is generally assumed that auditory regularity extraction cannot operate upon this mixture of signals because it only finds regularities between adjacent sounds. In this view, (...) the auditory environment would be grouped into separate entities by means of readily available acoustic cues such as separation in frequency and location. Regularity extraction processes would then operate upon the resulting groups. Our new experimental evidence challenges this view. We presented two interleaved sound sequences which overlapped in frequency range and shared all acoustic parameters. The sequences only differed in their underlying regular patterns. We inserted deviants into one of the sequences to probe whether the regularity was extracted. In the first experiment, we found that these deviants elicited the mismatch negativity (MMN) component. Thus the auditory system was able to find the regularity between the non-adjacent sounds. Regularity extraction was not influenced by sequence cohesiveness as manipulated by the relative duration of tones and silent inter-tone-intervals. In the second experiment, we showed that a regularity connecting non-adjacent sounds was discovered only when the intervening sequence also contained a regular pattern, but not when the intervening sounds were randomly varying. This suggests that separate regular patterns are available to the auditory system as a cue for identifying signals coming from distinct sound sources. Thus auditory regularity extraction is not necessarily confined to a processing stage after initial sound grouping, but may precede grouping when other acoustic cues are unavailable. (shrink)
Detecting and orienting towards sounds carrying new information is a crucial feature of the human brain that supports adaptation to the environment. Rare, acoustically widely deviant sounds presented amongst frequent tones elicit large event related brain potentials (ERPs) in neonates. Here we tested whether these discriminative ERP responses reflect only the activation of fresh afferent neuronal populations (i.e., neuronal circuits not affected by the tones) or they also index the processing of contextual mismatch between the rare and the frequent sounds. (...) In two separate experiments, we presented sleeping newborns with 150 different environmental sounds and the same number of white noise bursts. Both sounds served either as deviants in an oddball paradigm with the frequent standard stimulus a tone (Novel/Noise deviant), or as the standard stimulus with the tone as deviant (Novel/Noise standard), or they were delivered alone with the same timing as the deviants in the oddball condition (Novel/Noise alone). Whereas the ERP responses to noise–deviants elicited similar responses as the same sound presented alone, the responses elicited by environmental sounds in the corresponding conditions morphologically differed from each other. Thus whereas the ERP response to the noise sounds can be explained by the different refractory state of stimulus specific neuronal populations, the ERP response to environmental sounds indicated context sensitive processing. These results provide evidence for an innate tendency of context dependent auditory processing as well as a basis for the different developmental trajectories of processing acoustical deviance and contextual novelty. (shrink)
Orienting to salient events in the environment is a first step in the development of attention in young infants. Electrophysiological studies have indicated that in newborns and young infants, sounds with widely distributed spectral energy, such as noise and various environmental sounds, as well as sounds widely deviating from their context elicit an event related potential (ERP) similar to the adult P3a response. We discuss how the maturation of event-related potentials parallels the process of the development of passive auditory attention (...) during the first year of life. Behavioural studies have indicated that the neonatal orientation to high energy stimuli gradually changes to attending to genuine novelty and other significant events by approximately 9 months of age. In accordance with these changes, in newborns, the ERP response to large acoustic deviance is dramatically larger than that to small and moderate deviations. This ERP difference, however, rapidly decreases within first months of life and the differentiation of the ERP response to genuine novelty from that to spectrally rich but repeatedly presented sounds commences during the same period. The relative decrease of the response amplitudes elicited by high energy stimuli may reflect development of an inhibitory brain network suppressing the processing of uninformative stimuli. Based on data obtained from healthy full term and pre term infants as well as from infants at risk for various developmental problems, we suggest that the electrophysiological indices of the processing of acoustic and contextual deviance may be indicative of the functioning of auditory attention, a crucial prerequisite of learning and language development. (shrink)
We welcome Soltis' use of evolutionary signaling theory, but question his interpretations of colic as a signal of vigor and his explanation of abnormal high-pitched crying as a signal of poor infant quality. Instead, we suggest that these phenomena may be suboptimal by-products of a generally adaptive learning process by which infants adjust their crying levels in relation to parental responsiveness.