Ethical dilemmas involving tax issues were identified by members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as posing the most difficult ethical problem for them (Finn et al., Journal of Business Ethics 7(8), pp. 607–609, 1988). The KPMG tax shelter fraud case proves that the tax profession has not gone untainted in the age of numerous accounting and corporate scandals, such as the Enron débâcle (Sikka and Hampton, Accounting Forum 29(3), 325–343, 2005). High-profile scandals serve to highlight the problems (...) caused by differences in ethical judgement among accountants and tax practitioners and the issue of ethics has been brought publicly to the forefront of the profession. Nevertheless, the nature and dimension of ethical issues in tax practice have been largely unexplored (Erard, Journal of Public Economics 52(2), 163–197, 1993; Marshall et al., Journal of Business Ethics 17(12), 1265–1279, 1998; Frecknall Hughes, Unpublished PhD Thesis, The University of Leeds, 2002). This research aims to contribute to the debate on ethics in tax practice by reporting interview data on tax practitioners’ perceptions of ethics in the jurisdictions of Ireland and the United Kingdom and exploring the link or equation of ethics with risk management. (shrink)
Ormerod and Chronicle (1999) reported that optimal solutions to traveling salesperson problems were judged to be aesthetically more pleasing than poorer solutions and that solutions with more convex hull nodes were rated as better figures. To test these conclusions, solution regularity and the number of potential intersections were held constant, whereas solution optimality, the number of internal nodes, and the number of nearest neighbors in each solution were varied factorially. The results did not support the view that the convex hull (...) is an important determinant of figural attractiveness. Also, in contrast to the findings of Ormerod and Chronicle, there were consistent individual differences. Participants appeared to be divided as to whether the most attractive figure enclosed a given area within a perimeter of minimum or maximum length. It is concluded that future research in this area cannot afford to focus exclusively on group performance measures. (shrink)
Strong evidence indicates that non-human primates possess a numerical representation system, but the inherent nature of that system is still debated. Two cognitive mechanisms have been proposed to account for non-human primate numerical performance: (1) a discrete object-file system limited to quantities 4), or span (small vs. large) numbers of food items presented simultaneously or sequentially. The prediction from the object-file hypothesis is that baboons will only accurately choose the larger quantity in small pairs, but not large or span pairs. (...) Conversely, the analog system predicts that baboons will be successful with all numbers, and that success will be dependent on numerical ratio. We found that baboons successfully discriminated all pair types at above chance levels. In addition, performance significantly correlated with the ratio between the numerical values. Although performance was better for simultaneous trials than sequential trials, evidence favoring analog numerical representation emerged from both conditions, and was present even in the first exposure to number pairs. Together, these data favor the interpretation that a single, coherent analog representation system underlies spontaneous quantitative abilities in primates. (shrink)
Contemporary debates on obedience and consent, such as those between Thomas Senor and A. John Simmons, suggest that either political obligation must exist as a concept or there must be natural duty of justice accessible to us through reason. Without one or the other, de facto political institutions would lack the requisite moral framework to engage in legitimate coercion. This essay suggests that both are unnecessary in order to provide a conceptual framework in which obedience to coercive political institutions can (...) be understood. By providing a novel reading of Hobbes’s Leviathan, this article argues that both political obligation and a natural duty to justice are unnecessary to ground the ability of political institutions to engage in legitimate coercion. This essay takes issue with common readings of Hobbes which assume consent is necessary to generate obedience on the part of citizens, and furthermore that political obligation is critical for the success of political institutions. While the failure of the traditional Hobbesian narrative of a consenting individual would seem to suggest the Leviathan is indefensible as a project, this paper argues that the right of war in the state of nature was more central for Hob- bes’s understanding of political institutions than obligation. Furthermore, Hobbes provides an adequate defense of political institutions even if his arguments about consent, obligation and punishment are only rhetorical. In this way Hobbesian law is best understood as a set of practical requirements to avoid war, and not as moral requirements that individuals are bound to comply with. Thus Hobbesian political institutions are not vulnerable to contemporary philosophical anarchist criticisms about political obligation and political institutions as such. To develop this reading, I focus primarily on the Leviathan, including interpretations by Skinner, Kateb, Flathman, and Oakeshott. Ultimately, this argument provides insight into contem- porary political institutions of the state, citizenship, criminality, and the law in a world where political obligation has not been adequately justified. (shrink)
A recent argument in favor of a free market in human organs claims that such a market enhances personal autonomy. I argue here that such a market would, on the contrary, actually compromise the autonomy of those most likely to sell their organs, namely, the least well off members of society. A Marxian-inspired notion of exploitation is deployed to show how, and in what sense, this is the case.
I have argued that forgiveness paradigmatically involves overcoming moral anger, of which resentment is the central case. I have argued, as well, that forgiveness may involve overcoming any form of anger so long as the belief that you have been wrongfully harmed is partially constitutive of it, and that overcoming other negative emotions caused by a wrongdoer's misdeed may, given appropriate qualifications, count as forgiveness. Those qualifications indicate, however, significant differences between moral anger and other negative emotions; differences which must (...) be taken into account when determining whether overcoming negative emotions other than moral anger count as forgiveness. I have proposed, too, that forgiveness requires neither overcoming all negative feelings (other than moral anger) nor the judgment that the offender is a wrongdoer.I must acknowledge that my analysis is incomplete, focusing as it does on the forgiver rather than on the person forgiven. After all, there are two sides to forgiveness. Not all forgiving involves a struggle to overcome negative feelings; sometimes it is a social transaction of a more casual sort that is effected by the simple speech act “I forgive you.” My analysis is incomplete insofar as it treats exclusively of forgiveness as a process and fails to offer an analysis of forgiveness as an act. Finally, a complete theory of forgiveness requires an account of the conditions under which forgiveness qualifies as a moral virtue, and such an account is beyond the scope of this essay. Though I have not offered a complete theory of forgiveness, my effort to clarify a dimension of what is involved in a common type of forgiveness may clear the way for answering related questions about it, and thereby lead to a fuller account of forgiveness as a moral phenomenon. (shrink)
Recent philosophical arguments in favor of legal markets in human organs such as kidneys claim that respect for autonomy justifies such markets. I argue that these arguments fail to establish the moral permissibility of commercialized organ sales because they do not show that those most likely to serve as vendors would choose to sell autonomously. Pro-market views utilize hierarchical theories of autonomy to demonstrate that potential organ vendors may autonomously consent to selling their organs even in the absence of any (...) practical alternative to doing so. But central to hierarchical accounts of autonomy is the idea that persons my experience volitional ambivalence, a condition in which the will is irreconcilably conflicted. Because commercialized organ sales would create volitional ambivalence in many of those who opt to sell an organ, the choice to sell an organ would not be an autonomous one. (shrink)
We reflect, using a vignette, on conceptual tensions and the value judgements that lie behind difficult decisions about whether or not the older person with dementia should return home or move into long-term care following hospital admission. The paper seeks, first, to expose some of the difficulties arising from the assessment of residence capacity, particularly around the nature of evaluative judgements and conceptual tensions inherent in the legal approach to capacity. Secondly, we consider the assessment of best interests around place (...) of residence, which demonstrates significant conceptual tensions. In addition, ‘best interests’ raise issues around the perception of risk and the perceptions of the family and crucially involve the notions of autonomy and trust. Finally, we not only gesture at some practical considerations based on insights from values-based medicine, but also make the suggestion that we require tighter functional assessments of residence capacity coupled with broader judgements about best interests. (shrink)
Bering's target article proposes that the tendency to believe in an afterlife emerged (in evolutionary history) in response to selective pressures unique to human societies. However, the empirical evidence presented fails to account for the broader social context that impinges upon researcher–participant interactions, and so fails to displace the more parsimonious explanation that it is childhood credulity that underlies the acquisition of afterlife beliefs through cultural exposure.
This paper canvasses recent arguments in favor of commercial markets in human transplant kidneys, raising objections to those arguments on grounds of the role of injustice, exploitation, and coercion in compromising the autonomy of those most likely to sell a kidney, namely, the least well off members of society.
The political thought of Mohandas K. Gandhi has been increasingly used as a paradigmatic example of hybrid political thought that developed out of a cross-cultural dialogue of eastern and western influences. With a novel unpacking of this hybridity, this article focuses on the conceptual influences that Gandhi explicitly stressed in his autobiography and other writings, particularly the works of Leo Tolstoy and the Bhagavad Gītā. This new tracing of influence in the development of Gandhi’s thought alters the substantive thrust of (...) Gandhi’s thought away from more familiar quasi-liberal interpretations and towards a far more substantive bhakti or devotional understanding of politics. The analysis reveals a conception of politics that is not pragmatic in its use of non-violence, but instead points to a devotional focus on cultivating the self (ātman), ultimately dissolving the public/private distinction that many readings of Gandhi’s thought depend upon. (shrink)
This paper studies long-term norms concerning actions. In Meyer's Propositional Deontic Logic (PDₑL), only immediate duties can be expressed, however, often one has duties of longer durations such as: "Never do that", or "Do this someday". In this paper, we will investigate how to amend (PDₑL) so that such long-term duties can be expressed. This leads to the interesting and suprising consequence that the long-term prohibition and obligation are not interdefinable in our semantics, while there is a duality between these (...) two notions. As a consequence, we have provided a new analysis of the long-term obligation by introducing a new atomic proposition I (indebtedness) to represent the condition that an agent has some unfulfilled obligation. (shrink)
Over the past decade or so political leaders around the world have begun to apologize for, and even seek reconciliation between perpetrators and victims of large-scale moral wrongs such as slavery, campaigns of ethnic cleansing, and official regimes of racial segregation. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is probably the most well-known example of such political efforts to effect what might be called moral healing within and between nations. In this essay, I canvass various senses of reconciliation, clarifying (...) which are appropriate for understanding these recent political efforts to heal the wounds caused by state-sanctioned moral atrocities. I argue that interpersonal reconciliation is not likely to be a promising model for understanding political efforts to achieve moral closure for large-scale wrongs, and I close with some worries about the efficacy of state-sponsored attempts to reconcile victims to their wrongdoers. (shrink)
This paper will discuss the origin of the human mind, and the qualitative discontinuity between human and animal cognition. We locate the source of this discontinuity within the language faculty, and thus take the origin of the mind to depend on the origin of the language faculty. We will look at one such proposal put forward by Hauser et al. (Science 298:1569-1579, 2002), which takes the evolution of a Merge trait (recursion) to solely explain the differences between human and animal (...) cognition. We argue that the Merge-only hypothesis fails to account for various aspects of the human mind. Instead we propose that the process of lexicalisation is also unique to humans, and that this process is key to explaining the vast qualitative differences. We will argue that lexicalisation is a process through which concepts are reformatted to be able to take on semantic features and to take part in grammatical relations. These are both necessary conditions for a grammatical mind and the increased ability to express conceptual content. We therefore propose a possible explanans for the discontinuity between humans and animals, namely that merge with lexicalisation (and consequently semantic features and grammatical relations) is a minimal requirement for the human mind. (shrink)
Proactive law enforcement techniques such as sting operations sometimes go too far, resulting in innocent people being "entrapped" into committing crime. Fortunately, the criminal law recognizes entrapment as a defense to a criminal charge. There is, however, much confusion about entrapment. In this paper I argue that this confusion is a result of misunderstanding the _moral status of entrapment. Since all proactive law enforcement violates the autonomy of those subject to it, it undermines moral agency and criminal liability. Although this (...) is sometimes justifiable, proactive law enforcement that does so in a way that constitutes entrapment is not. (shrink)
Corradi's book is a detailed account of modernization in Argentina. There has been considerable urbanization and industrialization. There is a highly organized work force and a large educated middle class. Yet, Argentina is not all that different from other Latin American countries, and remains a peripheral capitalist society characterized by “dependency, stagnation, political decay and violence” (p. 2). Although Corradi does not indulge in theoretical debates, his insistence on the analysis of the conscious subjects who have made Argentinian history challanges (...) all linear theories of development, including Wallerstein's world system perspective since it assumes a mechanical hierarchy of economic growth in different regions of the world. (shrink)