Mason and McCall Smith's classic textbook discusses the relationship of medical practice and ethics with the operation of the law. The subjects covered include natural and assisted reproduction, the impact of modern genetics on medicine, medical confidentiality, consent to medical treatment, the use of resources and problems surrounding death in the new medical era. It is of significance to anyone with an interest in the ethical and legal practice of medicine.
James Lenman argues that consequentialism fails as a moral theory because it is impossible to predict the long-term consequences of our actions. I agree that it is impossible to predict the long-term consequences of actions, but argue that this does not count as a strike against consequentialism. I focus on the principle of indifference, which tells us to treat unforeseeable consequences as cancelling each other out, and hence value-neutral. I argue that though we cannot defend this principle independently, we cannot (...) do without it in practical rationality. Thus abandoning the principle of indifference would involve abandoning all of rationality, not just consequentialist reasoning. I suggest that we should understand the principle as P. F. Strawson understands inductive reasoning – as being part of rationality. Correspondence:c1 Elinor.Mason@colorado.edu. (shrink)
This collection of previously unpublished essays addresses a number of issues arising out of philosophical controversies over the possibility of genuine moral dilemmas. Issues addressed include the form of a moral dilemma; the paradoxes a moral dilemma is said to entail; the question of whether a moral dilemma must exhibit inconsistency; the role of intractable circumstances in occasioning moral dilemmas; and the plausibility of supposing that there might be rational ways of addressing moral dilemmas in practice. The contributors, writing from (...) a number of widely differing points of view, include Simon Blackburn, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Alan Donagan, Terrance McConnell, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Mary Mothersill, Norman Dahl, David Brink, Peter Railton, Thomas E. Hill, Jr., Christopher Gowans, and H.E. Mason. (shrink)
What makes feminist theory feminist? How did so many different feminisms come to exist? In Fundamental Feminism, Judith Grant addresses these questions by offering a critical exploration of the evolution of feminist theory and the state of feminist thinking today. Grant provides a lively assessment of the major problems of contemporary feminist thought and identifies a set of common assumptions that link the wide variety of feminist theories in existence. Fundamental Feminism calls for nothing less than a substantial revision of (...) the core concepts responsible for shaping feminist theory as we now know it. Grant identifies and critiques three core concepts of feminist theory--"woman," "experience," and "personal politics"--from their origins in pamphlets and writings from the early women's liberation movement to their current construction in feminist thought. She then connects a number of major debates in feminism today to the longstanding influence of these core assumptions. These debates include the hegemony of the white female perspective, the tension between anti-pornography and pro-sex feminists, and the discussions surrounding the challenges presented by postmodernism. Grant gives readers valuable insight into the dilemma facing feminist theory today. Fundamental Feminism is a thorough and provocative analysis that will be essential reading for anyone interested in the future of feminist theory and the power of feminist politics. (shrink)
The primary objective of this study is to provide a description of the major ideas about void space within and beyond the world that were formulated between the fourteenth and early eighteenth centuries. The second part of the book - on infinite, extracosmic void space - is of special significance. The significance of Professor Grant's account is twofold: it provides the first comprehensive and detailed description of the scholastic Aristotelian arguments for and against the existence of void space; and it (...) presents (again for the first time) an analysis of the possible influence of scholastic ideas and arguments on the interpretations of space proposed by the nonscholastic authors who made the Scientific Revolution possible. The concluding chapter of the book is unique in not only describing the conceptualizations of space proposed by the makers of the Scientific Revolution, but in assessing the role of readily available scholastic ideas on the conception of space adopted for the Newtonian world. (shrink)
Questioning the usual judgements of political ethics, Ruth W. Grant argues that hypocrisy can actually be constructive while strictly principled behavior can be destructive. Hypocrisy and Integrity offers a new conceptual framework that clarifies the differences between idealism and fanaticism while it uncovers the moral limits of compromise. "Exciting and provocative. . . . Grant's work is to be highly recommended, offering a fresh reading of Rousseau and Machiavelli as well as presenting a penetrating analysis of hypocrisy and integrity."--Ronald J. (...) Terchek, American Political Science Review "A great refreshment. . . . With liberalism's best interests at heart, Grant seeks to make available a better understanding of the limits of reason in politics."--Peter Berkowitz, New Republic. (shrink)
Separated from its anchorage in religion, ethics has followed the social sciences in seeing human beings as fundamentally characterized by self-interest, so that altruism is either naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin Grant contends that, as a modern secular concept, altruism is a parody on the self-giving love of Christianity, so that its dismissal represents a social levelling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and religion makes possible. The Christian affirmation is that God is characterized by (...) self-giving love (agape), then expected of Christians. Lacking this theological background, the focus on self-interest in sociobiology and economics, and on human realism in the political focus of John Rawls or the feminist sociability of Carol Gilligan, finds altruism naive or a dangerous distraction from real possibilities of mutual support. This book argues that to dispense with altruism is to dispense with God and with the divine transformation of human possibilities. (shrink)
Serial music was one of the most important aesthetic movements to emerge in post-war Europe, but its uncompromising music and modernist aesthetic has often been misunderstood. This book focuses on the controversial journal die Reihe, whose major contributors included Stockhausen, Eimert, Pousseur, Dieter Schnebel and G. M. Koenig, and discusses it in connection with many lesser-known sources in German musicology. It traces serialism's debt to the theories of Klee and Mondrian, and its relationship to developments in concrete art, modern poetry (...) and the information aesthetics and semiotics of Max Bense and Umberto Eco. M. J. Grant sketches an aesthetic theory of serialism as experimental music, arguing that serial theory's embrace of both rigorous intellectualism and aleatoric processes is not, as many have suggested, a paradox, but the key to serial thought and to its relevance for contemporary theory. (shrink)
The Critical Imagination is a study of metaphor, imaginativeness, and criticism of the arts. Since the eighteenth century, many philosophers have argued that appreciating art is rewarding because it involves responding imaginatively to a work. Literary works can be interpreted in many ways; architecture can be seen as stately, meditative, or forbidding; and sensitive descriptions of art are often colourful metaphors: music can 'shimmer', prose can be 'perfumed', and a painter's colouring can be 'effervescent'. Engaging with art, like creating it, (...) seems to offer great scope for imagination. Hume, Kant, Oscar Wilde, Roger Scruton, and others have defended variations on this attractive idea. In this book, James Grant critically examines it. The first half explains the role imaginativeness plays in criticism. To do this, Grant answers three questions that are of interest in their own right. First, what are the aims of criticism? Is the point of criticizing a work to evaluate it, to explain it, to modify our response to it, or something else? Second, what is it to appreciate art? Third, what is imaginativeness? He gives new answers to all three questions, and uses them to explain the role of imaginativeness in criticism. The book's second half focuses on metaphor. Why are some metaphors so effective? How do we understand metaphors? Are some thoughts expressible only in metaphor? Grant's answers to these questions go against much current thinking in the philosophy of language. He uses these answers to explain why imaginative metaphors are so common in art criticism. The result is a rigorous and original theory of metaphor, criticism, imaginativeness, and their interrelations. (shrink)
: Focusing on a textbook controversy that emerged in Kanawha County, West Virginia, in 1974, Mason explores the discursive production of white ethnicity in the rhetorical, visual, and political strategies used during an organized protest against the new multicultural curriculum adopted by the local school board. What the author finds puzzling is the ways in which these productions of "soul" and "nation" enabled unlikely political alliances between national conservative elites and the local, historically left-leaning working class protesters. The author argues (...) that "soul" is reproduced through racialized discourse signifying the spiritual and ethnic purity of whiteness, the consolidation of white ethnicity, and the spirit of white resistance, articulated through campaigns to save children from future captivity in an "alien" world. Through this on-site theoretical analysis, the author demonstrates how a right-wing narrative of victimhood facilitates the reproduction of ethnic identification among the protesters, whose whiteness apparently can be jeopardized by reading the "wrong" books. (shrink)
I argue that motivational internalism should not be driving metaethics. I first show that many arguments for motivational internalism beg the question by resting on an illicit appeal to internalist assumptions about the nature of reasons. Then I make a distinction between weak internalism and the weakest form of internalism. Weak internalism allows that agents fail to act according to their normative judgments when they are practically irrational. I show that when we clarify the notion of practical irrationality it does (...) not support motivational internalism. Weakest internalism only claims that agents are irrational if they entirely lack motivation to do what they judge they ought to. I do not argue against weakest internalism, but I argue that it is not an important view. (shrink)
The 20th century has been a tumultuous time in psychology – a century in which the discipline struggled with basic questions about its intellectual identity, but nonetheless managed to achieve spectacular growth and maturation. It’s not surprising, then, that psychology has attracted sustained philosophical attention and stimulated rich philosophical debate. Some of this debate was aimed at understanding, and sometimes criticizing, the assumptions, concepts and explanatory strategies prevailing in the psychology of the time. But much philosophical work has also been (...) devoted to exploring the implications of psychological findings and theories for broader philosophical questions like: Are humans really rational animals? How malleable is human nature? and Do we have any innate knowledge or innate ideas? One particularly noteworthy fact about philosophy of psychology in the 20th century is that, in the last quarter of the century, the distinction between psychology and the philosophy of psychology began to dissolve as philosophers played an increasingly active role in articulating and testing empirical theories about the mind and psychologists became increasingly interested in the philosophical underpinnings and implications of their work. Our survey is divided into five sections, each focusing on an important theme in 20th century psychology which has been the focus of philosophical attention and has benefited from philosophical scrutiny. (shrink)
Milton Friedman's article, The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits, owes its appeal to the rhetorical devices of simplicity, authority, and finality. More careful consideration reveals oversimplification and ambiguity that conceals empirical errors and logical fallacies. It is false that business does, or would, operate exclusively in economic terms, that managers concentrate obsessively on profitability, and that ethics can be marginalized. These errors reflect basic contradictions: an apolitical political base, altruistic agents of selfishness, and good deriving from (...) greed. (shrink)
In this paper I defend consequentialism against the objection that consequentialists are alienated from their personal relationships through having inappropriate motivational states. This objection is one interpretation of Williams' claim that consequentialists will have "one thought too many". Consequentialists should cultivate dispositions to act from their concern for others. I argue that having such a disposition is consistent with a belief in consequentialism and constitutes an appropriate attitude to personal relationships. If the consequentialist has stable beliefs that friendship is justifiable (...) in consequentialist terms, that friendship requires acting from concern for others, and furthermore if the consequentialist finds that she is concerned for others, then she will be able to form a disposition which involves acting from her concern for others without having one thought too many. (shrink)
It is often supposed that the point of equality of opportunity is to create a level playing-field. This is understood in different ways, however. A common proposal is what I call the neutralization view: that people's social circumstances should not differentially affect their life chances in any serious way. I raise problems with this view, before developing an alternative conception of equal opportunity which allows some variations in social circumstances to create differences in life prospects. The meritocratic conception which I (...) defend is grounded in the idea of respect for persons, and provides a less demanding interpretation of fair access to qualifications; it nevertheless places constraints on the behaviour of parents, and has implications for educational provision in schools. (shrink)
I defend, in this paper, a version of a philosophy of common sense. I have use of some things from Reid's account of these matters, others from Wittgenstein's. Scepticism looms large—as do the questions of arguments for and examples of common sense. At least two different notions of common sense emerge, one of which has often been overlooked by philosophers.
Despite contemporary moral philosophers' renewed attention to the moral significance of emotions, the attitudinal repertoire with which they equip the mature moral agent remains stunted. One attitude moral philosophers neglect (if not disown) is contempt. While acknowledging the nastiness of contempt, I here correct the neglect by providing an account of the moral psychology of contempt. In the process, I defend the moral propriety of certain tokens of properly person-focused contempt against some prominent objections -- among them, objections stemming from (...) Kantian worries that contempt is incompatible with the respect we owe to persons as such. (shrink)
Theodore Levitt criticizes John Kenneth Galbraith's view of advertising as artificial want creation, contending that its selling focus on the product fails to appreciate the marketing focus on the consumer. But Levitt himself not only ends up endorsing selling; he fails to confront the fact that the marketing to our most pervasive needs that he advocates really represents a sophisticated form of selling. He avoids facing this by the fiction that marketing is concerned only with the material level of existence, (...) and absolves marketing of serious involvement in the level of meaning through the relativization of all meanings as personal preferences. The irony is that this itself reflects a particular view of meaning, a modern commercial one, so that it is this vision of life that LevittÕs marketing is really SELLING. (shrink)
Could someone who wants a gin and tonic have a normative reason to drink petrol and tonic? Bernard Williams and Michael Smith both say, 'No'. They argue that what an agent has normative reason to do is determined by rational deliberation that involves correcting the agent's beliefs and current motivations. On such an account of normative reasons, an agent who is motivated to act in some way due to a false belief does not have reason to act in that way. (...) I argue that the agent could have reason to drink the petrol, because an agent's epistemic circumstances, what that agent can come to know, can be as relevant to what the agent has reason to do as other aspects of his circumstances. Moreover, if an agent's epistemic circumstances are taken into account when determining what the agent has reason to do, this can still give an account of reasons that is normative, ensures that the agent and onlookers agree on what the agent has reason to do, is appropriately connected to rationality and fairly represents the agent's beliefs about the knowledge they need to have to know how they have reason to act. (shrink)
Despite appeals to Hume in debates over moralism in art criticism, we lack an adequate account of Hume’s moralist aesthetics, as presented in “Of the Standard of Taste.” I illuminate that aesthetics by pursuing a problem, the moral prejudice dilemma, that arises from a tension between the “freedom from prejudice” Hume requires of aesthetic judges and what he says about the relevance of moral considerations to art evaluation. I disarm the dilemma by investigating the taxonomy of prejudices by which Hume (...) justifies the true judge’s moralism. The result distinguishes Hume’s aesthetic and moral points of view while defending aesthetic moralism. (shrink)
I argue against the standard view that it is possible to describe extensionally different consequentialist theories by describing different evaluative focal points. I argue that for consequentialist purposes, the important sense of the word act must include all motives and side effects, and thus these things cannot be separated.
A Gricean preamble concludes that though utterances have unintended meanings, those cannot be considered apart from their intended meanings. Intention distinguishes artworks from natural phenomena. To allocate an artwork to a genre, to accept its normal authorial boundaries and that its content is not random but chosen, is to concede intention's centrality. Wimsatt and Beardsley were right that meaning is public. But they think 'intention' is 'private' or 'unavailable'. However, it too is public, in the work. Fictions are utterances of (...) a curious kind. They may mimic, but are not meant to be taken for, veridical reports. Neither are they 'pseudo-statements' (Richards) nor 'pretended illocutionary acts' (Searle). Their logical form is actually this: 'I [author] invite you [reader] to imagine that S [content].' This prescribes no response, nor claims to describe the 'real' world, even though it may elicit a response appropriate to real-life events. One reason for imagining fictional situations may be to strengthen the perceptions necessary for (civilized) real life. (shrink)
Increasingly in the modern world, incentives are becoming the tool we reach for when we wish to bring about change. In government, in education, in health care, between and within institutions of all sorts, incentives are offered to steer people's choices in certain directions. But despite the increasing interest in ethics and economics, the ethics of the use of incentives has raised very little concern. From a certain point of view, this is not surprising. When incentives are viewed from the (...) perspective of market economics, they appear to be entirely unproblematic. An incentive is an offer of something of value, sometimes with a cash equivalent and sometimes not, meant to influence the payoff structure of a utility calculation so as to alter a person's course of action. In other words, the person offering the incentive means to make one choice more attractive to the person responding to the incentive than any other alternative. Both parties stand to gain from the resulting choice. In effect, it is a form of trade, and as such, it meets certain ethical requirements by definition. A trade involves voluntary action by all parties concerned to bring about a result that is beneficial to all parties concerned. If these conditions were not met, the trade would simply not occur. And as inducements in a voluntary transaction, incentives certainly have the moral high ground over coercion as an alternative. (shrink)
Neither the corporate view of whistle blowers as tattle-tales and traitors, nor the more sympathethic understanding of them as tragic heroes battling corrupt or abused systems captures what is at stake in whistle blowing at its most distinctive. The courage, determination and sacrifice of the most ardent whistle blowers suggests that they only begin to be appreciated when they are seen as the saints of secular culture. Although some whistle blowers may be attempting to deflect attention from their own deficiencies (...) and others may be disgruntled employees, the most serious instances involve a level of moral sensitivity that approaches religious proportions that are baffling for a culture that has dispensed with sainthood. (shrink)
There is considerable confusion regarding the ethical appropriateness of using incentives in research with human subjects. Previous work on determining whether incentives are unethical considers them as a form of undue influence or coercive offer. We understand the ethical issue of undue influence as an issue, not of coercion, but of corruption of judgment. By doing so we find that, for the most part, the use of incentives to recruit and retain research subjects is innocuous. But there are some instances (...) where it is not. Specifically, incentives become problematic when conjoined with the following factors, singly or in combination with one another: where the subject is in a dependency relationship with the researcher, where the risks are particularly high, where the research is degrading, where the participant will only consent if the incentive is relatively large because the participant's aversion to the study is strong, and where the aversion is a principled one. The factors we have identified and the kinds of judgments they require differ substantially from those considered crucial in most previous discussions of the ethics of employing incentives in research with human subjects. (shrink)
: Following Aristotle, medieval natural philosophers believed that knowledge was ultimately based on perception and observation; and like Aristotle, they also believed that observation could not explain the "why" of any perception. To arrive at the "why," natural philosophers offered theoretical explanations that required the use of the imagination. This was, however, only the starting point. Not only did they apply their imaginations to real phenomena, but expended even more intellectual energy on counterfactual phenomena, both extracosmic and intracosmic, extensively discussing, (...) among other themes, the possible existence of other worlds and the possibility of an infinite extracosmic space. The application of the imagination to scientific problems during the Middle Ages was not an empty exercise, but, as I shall show, played a significant role in the development of early modern science. (shrink)
Although we are enthusiastic about a Darwinian approach to culture, we argue that the overview presented in the target article does not sufficiently emphasize the crucial explanatory role that psychology plays in the study of culture. We use a number of examples to illustrate the variety of ways by which appeal to psychological factors can help explain cultural phenomena. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Two contrasting types of individuals were each predicted to agree, for different reasons, that conventional ethical standards of society need not be upheld if organizational interests appear to demand otherwise. The hypotheses were investigated using questionnaire responses from two samples (employed and student, total N=308). Clear support was obtained for the prediction that individuals inclined toward self-interest and behavior counter to conventional standards would agree with the preceding position. Partial support was obtained for the hypothesis that individuals who simply feel (...) obligated to support an employing organization would also agree. While the latter's perspective may be somewhat narrow or perhaps even cynical, they do not seem to reflect the self-interest profile of the first group. This study also extends the groundbreaking work of Froelich and Kottke by exploring individual difference correlates of their promising ethics scale assessing the extent of agreement that organizational interests legitimately supersede more conventional ethical standards. (shrink)
There are many reports about the digital divideand many discrepant interpretations of what thereports indicate. This pattern of competinganalyses, often in relation to identical datasets, has endured for a good part of the lastdecade. It is argued here that a major problemwith much of the digital divide research is afailure to include ethical concerns as anexplicit part of analyzing and interpretingdigital divide gaps. If researchers includemore recognition of ethics with their findingsabout divide gaps, it is likely that they willproduce better (...) research and findings as well asmore defensible linkages between study reportsand policy deliberations. (shrink)
This study evaluates responses to the Real Estate Ethical Code. Voice Stress Analysis (VSA) is used to evaluate the responses of real estate sales people to ethically-based questions. The process and the responses given enabled the authors to gain insight into pressure-causing ethical situations and to explore new uses of VSA. Some respondents were stressed while following the ethical code guidelines. Others showed no stress about breaking the formal code. The study reaffirms that the presence of formal ethical guidelines does (...) not assure that the rules will be willingly followed. (shrink)
Ethics and associated values influence not only managerial behavior but also managerial success (England and Lee, 1973). Gender socialization theory hypothesizes gender differences in ethics variables whether or not individuals are full time employees; occupational socialization hypothesizes gender similarity in employees. The conflicting hypotheses were investigated using questionnaire responses from a sample of 308 individuals. Analysis of variance and hierarchical regression yielded unexpected results. Although no significant gender differences emerged in individuals lacking full time employment, significant differences existed between employed (...) women and men, with women appearing more ethical. While occupational socialization predicts an interaction between employment status and gender, these group differences were opposite to those predicted. An implication for the two theories and the current conflicting research support is that these commonly used theories may be of limited usefulness. Some alternative concepts are proposed. (shrink)
Individuals who disagree that organizational interests legitimately supersede those of the wider society may experience conflict between their personal standards of ethics and those demanded by an employing organization, a conflict that is well documented. An additional question is whether or not individuals capable of complex moral reasoning experience greater conflict than those reasoning at a less developed level. This question was first positioned in a theoretical framework and then investigated using 115 survey responses from a student sample. Correlational analysis (...) and hierarchical regression indicated that individuals scoring high on the Defining Issues Test measure of Kohlberg's stages of moral development experienced significantly greater workplace ethical conflict than low scorers. The finding that complex moral reasoners perceive greater conflict between their personal standards and typical organizational demands raises the issue of what reasoning orientation is rewarded in organizations. Individuals capable of complex moral reasoning may be likely to leave traditional organizations due to high conflict but more ethically friendly organizations for complex reasoners seem unlikely unless these people occupy influential positions. (shrink)
According to a classical teaching, God is not really related to creatures even by virtue of creating them. Some have objected that this teaching makes unintelligible the claim that God causally accounts for the universe, since God would be the same whether the universe existed or not. I defend the classical teaching, showing how the doctrine is implied by a popular cosmological argument, showing that the objection to it would also rule out libertarian agent causality, and showing that the objection (...) rests on an account of causality and sufficient reason that we have good reason to reject. (Published Online January 15 2007). (shrink)
A number of egalitarians have reached the conclusion that inequalities are just provided that they are the outcome of holding people appropriately responsible for their choices, and that only inequalities which can be traced back to the circumstances in which people happen to find themselves are objectionable. But this form of egalitarianism needs to be supplemented with an account of when it is appropriate to hold people responsible for their choices that is properly sensitive to the profound effects of socialisation. (...) Two of the most promising attempts to develop such an account-those of Ronald Dworkin and John Roemer-are found to be problematic in the light of a range of cases where gender socialisation influences values and aspirations. (shrink)
This study investigated the differences in responses of undergraduate business students to an ethical dilemma. Demographic characteristics were collected on the respondents and profiled as a means of examining common bases for decision. The authors found that certain demographic characteristics appear to be predictors of ethical decision behavior of future businessmen.
I am lying on a small table in a tiny room, dizzy with nausea and apprehension. A young woman busies herself with the preparations of a plaster mold that will be used to position my arm and chest for the twenty five ‘shots’ of radiotherapy that I will undergo during the ensuing five weeks. I had called the hospital that morning to say that I was too sick to come for this appointment. I had better come, said a young man (...) from the department, because if I missed this appointment I would I might not get a new appointment in time start the treatments within the recommended time frame. So I am here, on the table. I mention the nausea to the technician. My apprehension at this moment is that I might become so dizzy as to somehow swirl out of control. The young woman gives me a mask to blunt the smell of the plaster. The procedure will take twenty-five minutes. I keep my mind focused on each breath and get through the ordeal breath by breath. She seems, in contrast to me, gloriously free of distress and worry, listening to the radio while she works. I envy her good fortune. As we finish up the procedure I take a chance and share my experience: I say that being a cancer patient can be tricky because you are sometimes utterly in the grip of the idea that the cancer will spread and you’ll die soon and in a very unpleasant way. After each round of chemo I was admitted to hospital for extreme nausea and dehydration. During those days in the cancer ward some of those who were dying called out and moaned distressingly, sometimes for hours, during the night. I was, at those moments, unable to shake off the belief that I too would be in that state within a few months. The signs of cancer had been missed on the mammogram two years earlier and, when the lump made itself evident, I was in Stage III. When I mentioned this experience of being gripped by the idea of death she said “Oh I know exactly what you mean, my mother has breast cancer, and every time she has an examination I go searching the internet to find out what I can.” This young woman was twenty four, and I fifty six at the time, and she had given me an unexpected small precious gift that I took with me out of that little cupboard of a room.. (shrink)
Conspicuous consumption was first identified and discussed by Thorstein Veblen in his classic text on The Theory of the Leisure Class published in 1899. Since that time, business organisations have encouraged and exploited the demand for status goods and today the supply of products which serve as social symbols is highly organised and profitable. This paper looks at the ways in which manufacturers, advertisers and retailers have combined to promote status-seeking as an acceptable form of consumer behaviour and at how (...) the market for status goods has been expanded by corporate strategies geared to securing rapid rates of social obsolescence in the conspicuous goods and services on offer. The ethical arguments for and against such business activity are then examined in detail. (shrink)
: Violence is a spectacle. Not because it is simply something that we observe but, more fundamentally, because it is a mechanism through which we observe and define other things. Violence has the capacity to shape the ways that we see, and thereby come to know, these things. In other words, violence is more than a practice that acts upon the bodies of individual subjects to inflict harm and injury. It is, metaphorically speaking, also a way of looking at these (...) subjects. (shrink)
I suggest that Carter and Hestevold's arguments for L1 and L2 can be given a chance to succeed if (i) everywhere in them that we find an occurrence of the thesis Transient Time we replace it with an occurrence of Presentism, and (ii) everywhere in them that we find an occurrence of the thesis Static Time we replace it with an occurrence of Presentism's denial. I'm fairly confident that their arguments for L1 would succeed if these changes were made. (If (...) Presentism is true, nothing has temporal parts, for some at least of the temporal parts of a thing extended in time must be past or future. But if nothing has temporal parts, Endurance must be true.) I'm less confident that their arguments for L2 would succeed if those changes were made. But if the changes that I suggest are not made, the arguments for L1 and L2 certainly fail. (shrink)
The study of paraconsistent logic as a branch of mathematics and logic has been pioneered by Newton da Costa. With the growing advent of distributed and often inconsistent databases over the last ten years, there has been growing interest in paraconsistency amongst researchers in databases and knowledge bases. In this paper, we provide a brief survey of work in paraconsistent databases and knowledge bases affected by Newton da Costa's important and lasting contributions to the field.
Governmental response to the 1988 Thames Television documentary Death on the Rock, on the killing of three IRA operatives in Gibraltar, provides a case study for the examination of the British government's alleged attempts at media control. The Stalker affair further suggests this policy. Media restraints in Britain are numerous, including articles in the Emergency Provisions Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Offenses Against the State Act, and the new Broadcasting Act. It is argued that individual citizens are being (...) deprived of basic human rights on political grounds and the reporting of such abuses is deliberately impeded by the government. (shrink)
"Sustainability" is a popular term right now, but it needs considerable clarification, particularly as to whether growth itself is sustainable. Moreover, it is a meaningless abstraction unless ways are found of bringing it into political decisions. "Foresight" is the name of the process needed to bring lateral and long-term perspectives into those decisions and thus offer some hope of achieving sustainability. It has a long history but few successes. This article explores the obstacles to taking that step and ways in (...) which it might be accomplished. (shrink)
A growing literature addresses the ethicalimplications of electronic surveillance atwork, frequently assigning ethical priority tovalues such as the right to privacy. Thispaper suggests that, in practice, the issuesare sociologically more complex than someaccounts suggest. This is because manyworkplace electronic technologies not designedor deployed for surveillance purposesnevertheless embody surveillance capacity. Thiscapacity may not be immediately obvious toparticipants or lend itself to simpledeployment. Moreover, because of their primaryfunctions, such systems embody a range of otherfeatures which are potentially beneficial forthose utilising them. As (...) a result, more complexethical dilemmas emerge as different desired goods compete for priority in thedecision-making of individuals and groups. From a sociological point of view this raisesinteresting questions about the way ethicaldilemmas arise in the context of the ongoingsocial relationships of work. The paperexplores these issues using data from a studyof the development and implementation of acomputerised instructional package in amaternity setting. This medical settingillustrates clearly how seeking to assignethical priority to a particular concern, suchas the right to privacy, cannot butoversimplify the real day to day dilemmasencountered by participants. At the same time,the example of the instructional packagedemonstrates that it is difficult to predict inadvance what ethical issues will be raised bytechnologies that almost always turn out tohave a range of capabilities beyond thoseenvisaged in their original designspecification. (shrink)
In the film The Corporation* (Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan, 2004, http://www.thecorporation.com/) there are several scenes taken from an interview with Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, Inc., the largest commercial carpet manufacturing firm in the world. Anderson had founded the company twenty one years earlier with a bank loan of $5000, and had built it up to its present size. In this interview the camera focuses in a close up on Anderson’s face so that he is speaking directly (...) to the viewer. This is filmed in such a way as to capture the candor with which he describes a vivid experience which led him to a sudden appreciation for the enormous value of the natural world and.. (shrink)