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Profile: James Heath (Georgetown University)
  1. Joseph Heath, Enterprises Teach Us in the Post-Enron Era?
    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 – (...)
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  2. Joseph Heath, Abstract.
    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 (...)
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  3. Joseph Heath, An Adversarial Ethic for Business.
    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, (...)
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  4. Joseph Heath, Brandom on the Sources of Normativity.
    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 (...)
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  5. Joseph Heath, Health Care as a Commodity.
    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 (...)
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  6. Joseph Heath, 'Legitimation Crisis' in the Later Work of Jürgen Habermas.
    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 (...)
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  7. Joseph Heath, Reasonable Restrictions on Underwriting.
    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 (...)
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  8. Joseph Heath, Should Productivity Growth Be a Social Priority?
    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 (...)
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  9. Joseph Heath, The Democracy Deficit in Canada.
    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 (...)
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  10. Joseph Heath, Two Myths About Canada-U.S. Integration.
    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 (...)
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  11. Joseph Heath, The Uses and Abuses of Agency Theory in Business Ethics.
    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. (...) 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)
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  12. Victor Davis Hanson & John Heath (forthcoming). Who Killed Homer? Arion.
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  13. Jane Heath (forthcoming). Helen Corke and DH Lawrence: Sexual Identity and Literary Relations. Feminist Studies.
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  14. John Heath (forthcoming). Blood for the Dead: Homeric Ghosts Speak Up. Hermes 133 (4).
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  15. John Heath (forthcoming). The Legacy of Peleus: Death and Divine Gifts in the Iliad. Hermes.
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  16. John R. Heath (forthcoming). The Blessings of Epiphany in Callimachus'" Bath of Pallas". Classical Antiquity.
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  17. Joseph Heath (forthcoming). Market Failure or Government Failure? A Response to Jaworski. Business Ethics Journal Review:50-56.
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  18. John Heath (2013). Why Corinna? Hermes 141 (2):155-170.
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  19. Joseph Heath (2013). Ideal Theory in an Nth-Best World: The Case of Pauper Labor. Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):159 - 172.
    One of the most troubling features of international trade is that it often involves exchange between individuals facing dramatically different life circumstances, who therefore derive different levels of benefit from the exchange. Most obviously, wages are extremely low in underdeveloped countries. However, the principle underlying these wages is the same as the one the dictates wage levels in wealthy countries. It is, therefore, difficult to criticize the wages paid to ?pauper labor? without at the same time criticizing the way that (...)
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  20. Joseph Heath (2013). The Structure of Intergenerational Cooperation. Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (1):31-66.
  21. Joseph Heath (2012). Letting the World In: Empirical Approaches to Ethics. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 7 (3):93-107.
  22. Joseph Heath (2011). Business Ethics and the 'End of History' in Corporate Law. Journal of Business Ethics 102 (S1):5-20.
    Henry Hansmann has claimed we have reached the “end of history” in corporate law, organized around the “widespread normative consensus that corporate managers should act exclusively in the economic interests of shareholders.” In this paper, I examine Hansmann’s own argument in support of this view, in order to draw out its implications for some of the traditional concerns of business ethicists about corporate social responsibility. The centerpiece of Hansmann’s argument is the claim that ownership of the firm is most naturally (...)
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  23. Joseph Heath (2011). Justice : Transcendental Not Metaphysical. In James Gordon Finlayson & Fabian Freyenhagen (eds.), Habermas and Rawls: Disputing the Political. Rouledge.
     
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  24. Joseph Heath (2011). Three Normative Models of the Welfare State. Public Reason 3 (2).
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  25. Joseph Heath (2010). Comment on Andreou. Ethics, Place and Environment 13 (1):23 – 26.
    This comment takes issue with the opposition that Andreou draws between the “exalted” and the “worldly” view. It argues instead for a distinction between “miswanting” and “competitive consumption” as rival explanations for the failure of economic growth to increase average levels of subjectively reported happiness in developed nations. It ends with a caution against over-reliance upon happiness research as an argument for environmentally-motivated constraints on growth.
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  26. Joseph Heath (2010). Gosseries, Axel , and Meyer, Lukas H. , Eds. Intergenerational Justice . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 419. $99.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Ethics 120 (4):851-855.
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  27. Joseph Heath & Joel Anderson (2010). Procrastination and the Extended Will. In Chrisoula Andreou & Mark D. White (eds.), The Thief of Time. Oxford University Press. 233--253.
  28. Joseph Heath, Jeffrey Moriarty & Wayne Norman (2010). Business Ethics and (or as) Political Philosophy. Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (3):427-452.
    There is considerable overlap between the interests of business ethicists and those of political philosophers. Questions about the moral justifiability of the capitalist system, the basis of property rights, and the problem of inequality in the distribution of income have been of central importance in both fields. However, political philosophers have developed, especially over the past four decades, a set of tools and concepts for addressing these questions that are in many ways quite distinctive. Most business ethicists, on the other (...)
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  29. Joseph Heath & Vida Panitch (2010). Why Cash Violates Neutrality. Basic Income Studies 5 (1).
    Egalitarian liberal political philosophers have been at pains to show that there is a nonnegligible “place” for liberty within the framework of an egalitarian theory of justice. Thus, many have insisted that, when redistribution is required in order to achieve greater equality, assets should be transferred in the most abstract form possible, ideally through a system of cash transfers. In this article we argue that this strategy has the potential to generate significant violations of neutrality. The problem arises from the (...)
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  30. J. Heath (2009). Habermas and Analytical Marxism. Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (8):891-919.
    John Roemer once described the ‘intellectual foundations’ of analytical Marxism as the recognition that, despite having a valid core, Marxism rested upon outdated social science. The solution, he believed, was to update the theory ‘using state-of-the-art methods of analytical philosophy and “positivist” social science’. If one takes this definition literally, Jürgen Habermas’ early work qualifies as that of an analytical Marxist. Yet although he developed his project in a way that was independent of the self-identified analytical Marxists, there are important (...)
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  31. Joseph Heath (2009). Three Evolutionary Precursors to Morality. Dialogue 48 (04):717-.
    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 (...)
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  32. Joseph Heath (2009). The Uses and Abuses of Agency Theory. Business Ethics Quarterly 19 (4):497-528.
    The use of agency theory remains highly controversial among business ethicists. While some regard it as an essential tool for analyzing and understanding the recent spate of corporate ethics scandals, others argue that these scandals might not even have occurred had it not been for the widespread teaching of agency theory in business schools. This paper presents a qualified defense of agency theory against these charges, first by identifying the theoretical commitments that are essential to the theory (in order to (...)
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  33. Joseph Heath (2008). Business Ethics and Moral Motivation: A Criminological Perspective. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 83 (4):595 - 614.
    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 (...)
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  34. Joseph Heath (2008). Following the Rules: Practical Reasoning and Deontic Constraint. Oxford University Press.
    Introduction -- Instrumental rationality -- Social order -- Deontic constraint -- Intentional states -- Preference noncognitivism -- A naturalistic perspective -- Transcendental necessity -- Weakness of will -- Normative ethics.
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  35. Joseph Heath, Methodological Individualism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    (1968 [1922]). 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 (...)
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  36. Joseph Heath (2008). Political Egalitarianism. Social Theory and Practice 34 (4):485-516.
    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 (...)
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  37. Joseph Heath (2008). Thorstein Veblen and American Social Criticism. In C. J. Misak (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of American Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    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 (...)
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  38. Joseph Heath (2007). An Adversarial Ethic for Business: Or When Sun-Tzu Met the Stakeholder. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 72 (4):359 - 374.
    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, (...)
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  39. Joseph Heath (2006). Business Ethics Without Stakeholders. Business Ethics Quarterly 16 (4):533-558.
    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. (...)
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  40. Joseph Heath (2006). Envy and Efficiency. Revue de Philosophie Économique 13.
    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 (...)
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  41. Joseph Heath (2006). The Benefits of Cooperation. Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (4):313–351.
    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 (...)
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  42. Joseph M. Heath (2006). Jürgen Habermas. In John R. Shook & Joseph Margolis (eds.), A Companion to Pragmatism. Blackwell Pub..
     
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  43. Joseph Heath (2005). Rawls on Global Distributive Justice: A Defence. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (sup1):193-226.
  44. Joseph Heath (2005). Response to Critics. Dialogue 44 (2):391-398.
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  45. J. Heath (2004). Liberalization, Modernization, Westernization. Philosophy and Social Criticism 30 (5-6):665-690.
    This paper distinguishes three distinct processes of change that a system of values can undergo: modernization, liberalization and westernization. Modernization refers to the changes needed to establish compatibility with science and technology, along with the functional demands of a capitalist economy. Liberalization refers to the changes needed to bring values into alignment with the requirements of a bureaucratic nation-state, along with the specific institutional strategies used to manage cultural pluralism. In a slight regimentation of everyday use, the term ‘westernization’ is (...)
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  46. Joseph Heath (2004). Dworkin’s Auction. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (3):313-335.
    Ronald Dworkin’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 (...)
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  47. Joseph Heath (2004). Jürgen Habermas, Truth and Justification Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 24 (5):330-332.
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  48. Joseph Heath & Wayne Norman (2004). Stakeholder Theory, Corporate Governance and Public Management: What Can the History of State-Run Enterprises Teach Us in the Post-Enron Era? Journal of Business Ethics 53 (3):247-265.
    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 – (...)
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  49. Joseph Heath (2003). Communicative Action and Rational Choice. The Mit Press.
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