The purpose of our article is to present a qualitative empirical study from the ethical viewpoint. It aims at the theoretical conceptualization concerning the managers' decision-making of personnel dismissals in downsizing organizations. First we present and seek to motivate our research task. The importance of real business ethical issues as a starting point of business ethics research is emphasized. Second the main normative ethical theories and ethical decision-making models are presented. These form the loose framework for describing and interpreting research (...) interviews. After this the empirical findings are set forth. This part suggests that the managers explain the dismissals from different decision-making roles emphasizing different ethical orientation. The roles are called a rational and an independent manager, a marionette and an emotional individual. Our study suggests that the role of empathy in morality reveals an interesting and a necessary research topic for business ethics research. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to identify the various dimensions of leadership emerging in Plato'ss discussions on ideal political governance and then generalize them to fit in with current discussions. The consideration will also cover some areas of organizational ethics, managerial discourses on rhetoric, management of meaning an charismatic leadership are presented. Also the possibility to evaluate the ethically "dark" sides of leadership (like totalitarian and truth-manipulating aspects) is sketched.
Rights, autonomy, privacy, and confidentialityare concepts commonly used in discussionsconcerning genetic information. When theseconcepts are thought of as denoting absolutenorms and values which cannot be overriden byother considerations, conflicts among themnaturally occur.In this paper, these and related notions areexamined in terms of the duties and obligationsmedical professionals and their clients canhave regarding genetic knowledge. It issuggested that while the prevailing idea ofautonomy is unhelpful in the analysis of theseduties, and the ensuing rights, an alternativereading of personal self-determination canprovide a firmer (...) basis for ethical guidelinesand policies in this field. (shrink)
Among the many ethical problems brought about by the latest developments in medical sciences is the possibility of creating "designer" babies. In this paper I will look at one such a case from the viewpoint of the Kantian "humanity principle". The various aspects of treating people as a means that can be brought up in discussions about "designer" babies are scrutinised. These will obviously include treating the future child as a mere means, but the proper role of the mother and (...) others involved are also looked at. I will conclude by arguing that, contrary to the usual presuppositions, the humanity principle is of very limited use in discussions about designer babies, in this case and in others too. (shrink)
Postmerger integration is a highly challenging and demanding task. Its success depends not only on economic factors but also on the organisational members' feelings and their personal contribution to the new entity. Mergers are usually made for the sake of profitability in the first place, whereas less attention is paid to employees in such situations. This article describes various ethical observations made in our study on corporate mergers in the Nordic Electro-business industry. We examine how the organisational change was experienced (...) by personnel, what kinds of ethical reflections surfaced in different phases of the process, and what conclusions might be drawn from them. The main focus is on the ethical meanings that emerged in our interviewees' stories spontaneously, without the topic of ethics having been separately brought up in the interview situation. The organisational members: we interviewed 35 electro-business employees who were either transferred from Vattenfall's contracting unit to the acquiring company or were already working there at the time of the merger. These persons were interviewed twice: first in 2001, the year of the initial merger, and again in 2005, 4 years from the start of the process and 1 year from the final ownership change. The merger process seemed to lead to decreased responsibility among the organisational members, which highlights the discrepancy between genuine ethical thinking and executive talk. Our study also revealed a dramatic shift in the moral attitudes of the managers who fell from power in the turmoil of organisational change. This moral dimension is evident in their sharply critical argumentation against the new operating model and new corporate management, as well as in their eventual indifference and non-commitment to the organisation. The ethical meanings of 'the good life' and a happy work community slowly disintegrated and were replaced by a longing for the earlier communality and sense of togetherness in their old organisation. This meant that 'the good life' would have to be sought elsewhere. (shrink)
This paper examines the logic and morality of the German Stem Cell Act of 2002. After a brief description of the law’s scope and intent, its ethical dimensions are analysed in terms of symbolic threats, indirect consequences, and the encouragement of immorality. The conclusions are twofold. For those who want to accept the law, the arguments for its rationality and morality can be sound. For others, the emphasis on the uniqueness of the German experience, the combination of absolute and qualified (...) value judgments, and the lingering questions of indirect encouragement of immoral activities will probably be too much. (shrink)
In the last few years there has been a lot of fuzzy talk, scientific discourses and comments of business life about the values, ethics and social responsibility of companies. Companies are expected to have also some other tasks besides that of gaining profit. A part of the tasks which management has, except for thinking of the benefits of their own organization, are things which work for the well-being of the whole society. Issues like this are, among others, working for employment, (...) taking care of the environment, and promoting consumer security.While making decisions of their own action in the company, the management often has to face ethical solutions. The benefit of the company may be different from that of other business stakeholders. In this case, the manager has to decide for which part he should act, for the company or for the stakeholders. The ethical problems in deciding may appear also inside the company. In our study, we are very interested in the decision-making processes which are connected with the honesty of the manager and his/her being honest with the stakeholders both inside and outside the company. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to put forth the concept of ethics, present ethical theories and, finally, consider some business ethics issues in the context of retailing practices. In the first part of this paper we seek to motivate the research task. The importance of conducting ethical analysis is stressed. In the second part of the paper several ethical theories: utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics are presented. This part serves as a basis for research interviews, e.g. it is (...) possible to examine retailers'' opinions about their professional virtues, and try to position these opinions in relation with utilitarianism and deontology. In the third part the empirical findings about the retailing business ethics are set forth. This part suggests that there prevails among retailers some kind of confusion about what are ethical issues and what is not ethical in their daily professional practices. To avoid this confusion four main principles were put forth by the Finnish retailers. The principles were: 1. Freedom versus rules; 2. Principles versus moralizing; 3. Boundaries versus transition; 4. Economy and moral versus subjective judgment. (shrink)
In a contribution to The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy , Professor Rosamond Rhodes argues that individuals sometimes have an obligation to know about their genetic disorders, because this is required by their status as autonomous persons. Her analysis, which is based on Kant's concept of autonomy and Aristotle's notion of friendship, is extended here to consequentialist concerns. These are of paramount importance if, as we believe and Professor Rhodes herself implies, the Kantian and Aristotelian doctrines can be helpful only (...) in the sphere of private morality, not in the public realm. Better tools for assessing the right to genetic ignorance as an issue of public policy can, we contend, be found in Mill's ideas concerning liberty and the prevention of harm. Our own conclusion, based on the Millian way of thinking, is that individuals probably do have the right to remain in ignorance in the cases Professor Rhodes presents as examples of a duty to know. (shrink)
In this paper I will study the theoretical foundations of autonomy and argue that many of the disputes around the principle follow from different understandings of what is "true freedom." My analysis will center on the two notions of liberty introduced by Isaiah Berlin in his "Two Concepts of Liberty" (originally published in 1959). The problem is that there is no unequivocal way to understand the division. In my paper, I will give one interpretation of Berlin's two concepts, and argue (...) that this reading both captures the essence of his essay and explains why there are so many ways of respecting autonomy. (shrink)
The question concerning an individual''s rightto remain in ignorance regarding her owngenetic makeup is central to debates aboutgenetic information. Whatever is decided onthis matter has a weighty bearing on all of therelated third-party issues, such as whetherfamily members or employers should be toldabout an individual''s genetic makeup. Thosearguing that no right to genetic ignoranceexists tend to argue from a viewpoint I havecalled in this paper reasonablepaternalism. It is an appealing position whichrests on widely shared intuitions on reasonablechoices, but which, in (...) the end, smugglespaternalism back to medical practice. (shrink)
Finland is currently undergoing a fundamental structural transformation in the forestry sector, with factories closing in the Global North and production being shifted to the Global South (see also Carrere & Lohmann 1996; Cossalter & Pye-Smith 2003). This is accompanied by Finnish mass movements protesting unemployment and demanding corporate social responsibility (CSR) from theforest industry. The difficult domestic situation, however, seems to overshadow the circumstances of the new production regions in the South. What do we actually know about the impacts (...) of the Finnish forestry sector in those societies? The branches of global forest companies may be located in regions that are experiencing various societal conflicts – like in the case of indigenous communities in northeastern Brazil, where the question of land ownership remains unsolved. The aim of our paper is to bring out the perspective of these traditional communities and the legitimacy problems of the Finnish forest industry in Brazil. We also scrutinize the corporate tactics by which companies seek to gain societal acceptability in the region. These range from social programs and campaigns to violent confrontations, even to attempts to deconstruct the identities of indigenous communities. Our general argument is that while companies have outlined their CSR policies in theory, the situation in actual practice is quite different. Companies often fail to take into account the prevailing socioeconomic conditions in the region and some of the more marginal stakeholders like indigenous peoples, who obviously have no economic importance to the company. (shrink)
The key stakeholders of the Finnish engineering education collaborated during 2006–09 to reform the system of education, to face the challenges of the changing business environment and to create a national strategy for the Finnish engineering education. The work process was carried out using participatory work methods. Impacts of sustainable development (SD) on engineering education were analysed in one of the subprojects. In addition to participatory workshops, the core part of the work on SD consisted of a research with more (...) than 60 interviews and an extensive literature survey. This paper discusses the results of the research and the work process of the Collaboration Group in the subproject of SD. It is suggested that enhancing systematic dialogue among key stakeholders using participatory work methods is crucial in increasing motivation and commitment in incorporating SD in engineering education. Development of the context of learning is essential for improving skills of engineering graduates in some of the key abilities related to SD: systemic- and life-cycle thinking, ethical understanding, collaborative learning and critical reflection skills. This requires changing of the educational paradigm from teacher-centred to learner-centred applying problem- and project-oriented active learning methods. (shrink)
Rights can be founded in a variety of ethical systems—e.g., on natural law, on the duties postulated by deontological ethics, and on the consequences of our actions. The concept of risk we will outline supports a theory of rights which provides at least individual human beings with the entitlement not to be harmed by the environmental impacts of biotechnology. The analysis can, we believe, also be extended to the rights of animals as well as ecosystems, both of which can be (...) harmed by human actions. We argue that further examination of these harms and rights would be the best way to proceed from emotional moral objections to truly ethical analyses in the context of biotechnology and the environment. (shrink)
Abstract In a recent issue of Neuroethics , I considered whether the notion of human dignity could help us in solving the moral problems the advent of the diagnostic category of minimally conscious state (MCS) has brought forth. I argued that there is no adequate account of what justifies bestowing all MCS patients with the special worth referred to as human dignity. Therefore, I concluded, unless that difficulty can be solved we should resort to other values than human dignity in (...) addressing the moral problems MCS poses. In his new book Christopher Kaczor criticizes the argument I put forward. Below, I respond to Kaczor’s criticism. I maintain that the considerations he presents do not undermine my argument nor succeed in providing adequate justification for the view that all MCS patients possess the worth referred to as human dignity. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-11 DOI 10.1007/s12152-011-9147-z Authors Jukka Varelius, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Philosophy, University of Turku, Turku, 20014 Finland Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490. (shrink)
It is plausible that what possible courses of action patients may legitimately expect their physicians to take is ultimately determined by what medicine as a profession is supposed to do and, consequently, that we can determine the moral acceptability of voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide on the basis of identifying the proper goals of medicine. This article examines the main ways of defining the proper goals of medicine found in the recent bioethics literature and argues that they cannot provide a (...) clear answer to the question of whether or not voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are morally acceptable. It is suggested that to find a plausible answer to this question and to complete the task of defining the proper goals of medicine, we must determine what is the best philosophical theory about the nature of prudential value. (shrink)
Appeals to the actual author's intention in order to legitimate an interpretation of a work of literary narrative fiction have generally been considered extraneous in Anglo-American philosophy of literature since Wimsatt and Beardsley's well-known manifesto from the 1940s. For over sixty years now so-called anti-intentionalists have argued that the author's intentions – plans, aims, and purposes considering her work – are highly irrelevant to interpretation. In this paper, I shall argue that the relevance of the actual author's intentions varies in (...) different approaches to fiction, and suggest that fictions are legitimately interpreted intentionally as conversations in a certain kind of reading. My aim is to show that the so-called conversational approach is valid when emphasizing the cognitive content of a fiction and truths it seem to convey, for example, in a philosophical approach to fictions which contain philosophical purport using Sartre's fictional works as paradigmatic, and that anti-intentionalists' arguments against intentionalism do not threaten such an approach. (shrink)
In this article, I consider whether the advance directive of a person in minimally conscious state ought to be adhered to when its prescriptions conflict with her current wishes. I argue that an advance directive can have moral significance after its issuer has succumbed to minimally conscious state. I also defend the view that the patient can still have a significant degree of autonomy. Consequently, I conclude that her advance directive ought not to be applied. Then I briefly assess whether (...) considerations pertaining to respecting the patient's autonomy could still require obedience to the desire expressed in her advance directive and arrive at a negative answer. (shrink)
Recent progress in neurosciences has improved our understanding of chronic disorders of consciousness. One example of this advancement is the emergence of the new diagnostic category of minimally conscious state (MCS). The central characteristic of MCS is impaired consciousness. Though the phenomenon now referred to as MCS pre-existed its inclusion in diagnostic classifications, the current medical ethical concepts mainly apply to patients with normal consciousness and to non-conscious patients. Accordingly, how we morally should stand with persons in minimally conscious state (...) remains unclear. In this paper, I examine whether the notion of human dignity could provide us with guidance with the moral difficulties MCS gives rise to. More precisely, I focus on the question of whether we are justified in holding that persons in minimally conscious state possess human dignity. (shrink)
According to realist structuralism, mathematical objects are places in abstract structures. We argue that in spite of its many attractions, realist structuralism must be rejected. For, first, mathematical structures typically contain intra-structurally indiscernible places. Second, any account of place-identity available to the realist structuralist entails that intra-structurally indiscernible places are identical. Since for her mathematical singular terms denote places in structures, she would have to say, for example, that 1 = –1 in the group (Z, +). We call this the (...) identity problem and conclude that nominalism is presently the safest route for the structuralist. (shrink)
The moral status of business bluffing is a controversial issue. On the one hand, bluffing would seem to be relevantly similar to lying and deception. Because of this, business bluffing can be taken to be an activity that is at least prima facie morally condemnable. On the other hand, it has often been claimed that in business bluffing is part of the game and that therefore there is nothing morally questionable in business bluffing. In a recent issue of this journal, (...) Fritz Allhoff puts forward a novel defence of business bluffing. In this article, I will examine Allhoff’s arguments for the moral acceptability of business bluffing and argue that they are implausible. (shrink)
During the last decades, there has been a debate on the question whether literary works are utterances, or have utterance meaning, and whether it is reasonable to approach them as such. Proponents of the utterance model in literary interpretation, whom I will refer to as ‘utterance theorists,’ such as Noël Carroll and especially Robert Stecker, suggest that because of their nature as linguistic products of intentional human action, literary works are utterances similar to those used in everyday discourse. Conversely, those (...) whom I will refer to as ‘appreciation theorists,’ such as Stein Haugom Olsen and Peter Lamarque, argue that literary works are by no means comparable to conversational utterances, and treating them in terms of utterances mistakenly dismisses their literary features. -/- The aim of this essay is twofold: to defend a central aspect of the utterance theory and to reconcile the two main positions about central issues in the debate on the meaning of literary works. On the one hand, I shall argue that it is both legitimate and reasonable to discuss the utterance meaning of a literary work on the basis of an interpretative approach interested in the author’s “message.” My aim is to show that literary works should be considered utterances in a conversational approach which aims at examining the illocutionary actions conveyed through the work. On the other hand, I attempt to show both that there are various legitimate interpretative approaches which are governed by the interpreter’s purposes and to suggest that the debate between utterance theorists and appreciation theorists is actually about merely different emphases. (shrink)
In contemporary Western biomedical ethics, informed consent practices are commonly justified in terms of the intrinsic value of patient autonomy. James Stacey Taylor maintains that this conception of the moral grounding of medical informed consent is mistaken. On the basis of his reasoning to that effect, Taylor argues that medical informed consent is justified by the instrumental value of personal autonomy. In this article, I examine whether Taylor's justification of medical informed consent is plausible.
This article discusses ethical dilemmas in early childhood education as identified by kindergarten and elementary school teachers (N = 26). Ethical dilemmas are investigated in the theoretical framework of moral relevance and moral conflict (Wallace 1988). Professional ethics challenges teachers to collaborate with colleagues and parents. The empirical findings present conflicts between teachers and parents, collegial conflicts between teachers, and cultural conflicts in the community. The method used in the study is a relational reading of teachers' narratives. Interpretative accounts are (...) created to give room to different voices in teachers' written reports. The analysis of the data reveals that the ethical dilemmas in early childhood education are relational and deal with competing interpretations of "the best interest of the child". Relevance and conflict problems arise when people have to co-ordinate their actions with others. Most of the time, discussions have not produced the desired results. Ethical conflicts in teaching invite teachers to consider the moral relevance of each dilemma by taking the perspective of each party involved. (shrink)
In the analytic philosophy of literature, a common objection to the cognitive value of literary narrative fiction has been that literary works do not argue for the genuine truths they may contain. The argument maintains that although literary works could make or imply humanly interesting truth-claims, the works do not reason or justify the claims and thus they do not make significant contributions to knowledge. In this paper, I shall argue that literary works have distinct cognitive significance in changing their (...) readers’ beliefs. In particular, I shall discuss so-called philosophical fictions and truth-claims (thematic statements considered as authorial assertions) they may imply. Leaning broadly on Aristotle’s view of the enthymeme, I shall argue that a work of literary fiction persuades readers of its truths by its dramatic structure, by illustrating or implying the suppressed conclusion (or other parts missing in the argument). Further, I shall suggest that it is exactly this ‘literary persuasion’ which distinguishes literary works from merely didactic works prone to overt “argumentation” and instruction. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall sketch a preliminary ground for a cognitivist theory of fiction and argue that theories which align fiction-making with (aesthetically valuable) story-telling consider the act of fiction-making too narrowly. As a paradigmatic example of such anti-cognitivist theories, I shall examine Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen’s influential theory of fiction, which suggests that recognizing the author’s fictive and literary intentions manifested in the text would lead to dismissing her aims to make genuine claims and suggestions. I (...) shall illustrate my argument concerning the act of fiction-making by showing that there are sub-genres of fiction, for instance, so-called philosophical fiction, in which the author’s intention to advance genuine points and to invite the reader to entertain the beliefs expressed can reasonably be argued to be as important for understanding the work as is her aim to create an aesthetically valuable and/or entertaining fictional narrative. Leaning on Noël Carroll’s theory of literary thought experiments, I shall suggest that philosophical fictions convey assertions or suggestions in a way similar to philosophers’ fictional thought experiments and are aimed to be understood as such. (shrink)
Services of ethics consultants are nowadays commonly used in such various spheres of life as engineering, public administration, business, law, health care, journalism, and scientific research. It has however been maintained that use of ethics consultants is incompatible with personal autonomy; in moral matters individuals should be allowed to make their own decisions. The problem this criticism refers to can be conceived of as a conflict between the professional autonomy of ethics experts and the autonomy of the persons they serve. (...) This paper addresses this conflict and maintains that when the nature of both ethics consultation and individual autonomy is properly understood, the professional autonomy of ethics experts is compatible with the autonomy of the persons they assist. (shrink)
In this paper, my aim is to show that in Anglo-American analytic aesthetics, the conception of narrative fiction is in general realistic and that it derives from philosophical theories of fiction-making, the act of producing works of literary narrative fiction. I shall firstly broadly show the origins of the problem and illustrate how the so-called realistic fallacy – the view which maintains that fictions consist of propositions which represent the fictional world “as it is” – is committed through the history (...) of philosophical approaches to literature in the analytic tradition. Secondly, I shall show how the fallacy that derives from the 20th Century philosophy of language manifests itself in contemporary analytic aesthetics, using Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen’s influential and well-known Gricean make-believe theory of fiction as an example. Finally, I shall sketch how the prevailing Gricean make-believe theories should be modified in order to reach the literary-fictive use of language and to cover fictions broader than Doyle’s stories and works alike. (shrink)
Among the different approaches to questions of biomedical ethics, there is a view that stresses the importance of a patient’s right to make her own decisions in evaluative questions concerning her own well-being. This approach, the autonomy-based approach to biomedical ethics, has usually led to the adoption of a subjective theory of well-being on the basis of its commitment to the value of autonomy and to the view that well-being is always relative to a subject. In this article, it is (...) argued that these two commitments need not lead to subjectivism concerning the nature of well-being. (shrink)
An adaptation of Pascal’s Wager argument has been considered useful in deciding about the provision of life-sustaining treatment for patients in persistent vegetative state. In this article, I assess whether people making such decisions should resort to the application of Pascal’s idea. I argue that there is no sufficient reason to give it an important role in making the decisions.
In this paper, I shall examine two types of assertions in literary narrative fiction: direct assertions and those I call literary assertions. Direct assertions put forward propositions on a literal level and function as the author’s assertions even if detached from their original context and applied in so-called ordinary discourse. Literary assertions, in turn, intertwine with the fictional discourse: they may be, for instance, uttered by a fictional character or refer to fictitious objects and yet convey the author’s genuine assertions. (...) The structure of the paper is twofold. The first, descriptive part is a question–answer type of discussion in which I shall introduce general philosophical arguments against assertions in fiction and present counter-arguments to them, paving the road to my account of literary assertions. In the second, argumentative part, in turn, I shall examine the nature of literary assertions, such as their semantic and ‘aspectival’ characteristics and their peculiar illocutionary force as well as the reader’s stance toward them. (shrink)
It has been suggested that, in addition to individual level decision-making, informed consent procedures could be used in collective decision-making too. One of the main criticisms directed at this suggestion concerns decision-making power. It is maintained that consent is a veto power concept and that, as such, it is not appropriate for collective decision-making. This paper examines this objection to collective informed consent. It argues that veto power informed consent can have some uses in the collective level and that when (...) it is not appropriate the decision power a concerned party ought to have in connection with an arrangement should be made relative to the interest she has at stake in it. It concludes that the objection examined does not undermine collective informed consent. (shrink)
In analytic aesthetics, a popular ‘cognitivist’ line of thought maintains that literary works of fictional kind may ‘imply’ or ‘suggest’ truths. Nevertheless, so-called anti-cognitivists have considered the concepts of implication and suggestion both problematic. For instance, cognitivists’s use of the word ‘implication’ seems to differ from all philosophical conceptions of implication, and ‘suggestion’ is generally left unanalysed in their theories. This paper discusses the role, kinds and conception of implication or suggestion in literature, issues which have received little attention in (...) contemporary literary aesthetics. In the first part, the author shall examine classic views on implication in literature and introduce objections to the views. In the latter part, in turn, the author shall propose a definition of the ‘literary suggestion’ and discuss issues related to its interpretation. (shrink)
In literary aesthetics, the debate on whether literary fictions provide propositional knowledge generally centres around the question whether there are authors’ explicit or implicit truth-claims in literary works and whether the reader’s act of looking for and assessing such claims as true or false is an appropriate stance toward the works as literary works. Nevertheless, in reading literary fiction, readers cannot always be sure whether the author is actually asserting or suggesting a view she expresses or presents because of the (...) artistic and imaginative nature of the work. In this essay, I shall argue that in addition to asserting and suggesting, authors make use of a third way of conveying knowledge by their works: they invite the reader to genuinely or extra-fictionally contemplate unasserted thoughts or viewpoints to a given issue, or they offer hypotheses or provide the reader fictional material for constructing a hypothesis. The aim of this essay is to examine this rather unanalyzed but extremely wide grey zone: the author’s act of ‘contemplating’ and the cognitive value of its products which I shall call ‘literary hypotheses.’. (shrink)
This bibliography aims to gather together studies in the philosophy of literature by Finnish researchers. It consists of articles and monographs which treat i) philosophical literary theory, ii) philosophical literature, or iii) literary philosophy and philosophers’ use of literary devices. The bibliography, collected by requests of publication data and from several Finnish publication databases, is not intended inclusive. Nevertheless, it is being throughout updated, and all kinds of suggestions, updates and corrections are most welcome.
In her study Fiction and Imagination: The Anthropological Function of Literature (2000), Margit Sutrop criticizes Gregory Currie’s theory of fiction-making, as presented in The Nature of Fiction (1990), for using an inappropriate conception of the author’s ‘fictive intention.’ As Sutrop sees it, Currie is mistaken in reducing the author’s fictive intention to that of achieving a certain response in the audience. In this paper, I shall discuss Sutrop’s theory of fiction-making and argue that although her view is insightful in distinguishing (...) the illocutionary effect and the perlocutionary effect in the author’s fictive intention, there aren flaws in it. My aim is to show that, first, Sutrop’s critique of Currie’s view is misguided and, second, her own definition of fiction as an expression of the author’s imagination is problematic in not distinguishing literary fiction-making from other discursive functions and in dismissing the literary practice which regulates the production of literary fictions. (shrink)
Opponents of voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide often maintain that the procedures ought not to be accepted because ending an innocent human life would both be morally wrong in itself and have unfortunate consequences. A gravely suffering patient can grant that ending his life would involve such harm but still insist that he would have reason to continue living only if there were something to him in his abstaining from ending his life. Though relatively rarely, the notion of meaning of (...) life has figured in recent medical ethical debate on voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. And in current philosophical discussion on meaning of life outside the medical ethical debate on voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide several authors have argued that being moral and having a meaningful existence are connected to each other. In this article, I assess whether his intentionally refraining from causing the harm related to voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide would involve something to such a patient in the sense that it would promote the meaningfulness of his life. (shrink)
It has been argued that voluntary euthanasia (VE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are morally wrong. Yet, a gravely suffering patient might insist that he has a moral right to the procedures even if they were morally wrong. There are also philosophers who maintain that an agent can have a moral right to do something that is morally wrong. In this article, I assess the view that a suffering patient can have a moral right to VE and PAS despite the moral (...) wrongness of the procedures in light of the main argument for a moral right to do wrong found in recent philosophical literature. I maintain that the argument does not provide adequate support for such a right to VE and PAS. (shrink)
Bayesian paradigm has been widely acknowledged as a coherent approach to learning putative probability model structures from a finite class of candidate models. Bayesian learning is based on measuring the predictive ability of a model in terms of the corresponding marginal data distribution, which equals the expectation of the likelihood with respect to a prior distribution for model parameters. The main controversy related to this learning method stems from the necessity of specifying proper prior distributions for all unknown parameters of (...) a model, which ensures a complete determination of the marginal data distribution. Even for commonly used models, subjective priors may be difficult to specify precisely, and therefore, several automated learning procedures have been suggested in the literature. Here we introduce a novel Bayesian learning method based on the predictive entropy of a probability model, that can combine both subjective and objective probabilistic assessment of uncertain quantities in putative models. It is shown that our approach can avoid some of the limitations of the earlier suggested objective Bayesian methods. (shrink)
We argue that although E-Z Reader does a good job in simulating many basic facts related to readers' eye movements, two phenomena appear to pose a challenge to the model. The first has to do with word length mediating the way compound words are identified; the second concerns the effects of initial fixation position in a word on eye behavior.
Ruchkin et al.'s view of working memory as activated long-term memory is more compatible with language processing than models such as Baddeley's, but it raises questions about individual differences in working memory and the validity of domain-general capacity estimates. Does it make sense to refer to someone as having low working memory capacity if capacity depends on particular knowledge structures tapped by the task?
In the mid-1990s the recession is turning to a recovery. Around the world corporate bodies which fell victim to structural changes and high interest rates finally get buried. However, many feel that corporate funerals are not enough to clear away the litter of the past, crucifying people is required too.In the common law countries, where the treatment of bankrupts is tougher than in the U.S., and in continental Europe, where discharge of debts has been virtually unheard of until recently, the (...) failed entrepreneurs' heads are wanted on the platter. A high level of debt and an extravagant lifestyle combine to provoke most demands for reprisals. (shrink)
In the contemporary analytic philosophy of literature and especially literary theory, the paradigmatic way of understanding the beliefs and attitudes expressed in works of literary narrative fiction is to attribute them to an implied author, an entity which the literary critic Wayne C. Booth introduced in his influential study The Rhetoric of Fiction. Roughly put, the implied author is an entity between the actual author and the narrator whose beliefs and attitudes cannot be appropriately ascribed to the actual author. Over (...) the decades, this “the author’s second self,” a construct the actual author is seen to create in her act of writing, has gained an established place in literary theory. In the philosophy of literature, in turn, the implied author has evolved into multiple entities; it has been represented and developed as, for instance, “the postulated author” (Alexander Nehamas), “the fictional author” (Gregory Currie) and “the model author” (Umberto Eco). -/- The aim of this paper is to suggest that although the implied author, and its philosophical counterparts, sheds light on certain types of narratives, it is insufficient in approaches which emphasize the truth-claims conveyed by a work. In what follows, I try to show that, first, from an ontological point of view, actual assertions in literary fiction, if any, have to be attributed to the actual author and, second, that the question of truth-claiming in and by literary fiction is an epistemological matter concerning the actual intentions of the author. -/- . (shrink)
Life-history evolution is a complexprocess. Life-history theory covers the fundamentallevel of the process, the evolution of life-historytraits. Life-history traits interact; thosecoevolving as a response to the same selectionpressure form life-history tactics. Top level of thehierarchy, life-history strategy, is formed bygenetically interconnected tactics. Our aim is toexpand the traditional view to life-history evolutionby considering what boundary conditions a successfullife-history strategy has to fulfil. We claim thatthe most fundamental condition successful strategieshave to meet is to minimize the risk of evolutionaryfailure. Here the (...) risk of failure refers to failurein transferring practitioners of the strategy to thenext time point, either through survival, or byreproduction. We make an attempt to classify types ofrisks as they lead to evolutionary failure, anddiscuss how risk minimization ideas may be approachedempirically. We conclude that understanding howtraits evolve may not cover all aspects of howstrategies evolve. We emphasize that bookkeeping ofthe actual causes of failure might help in developinglife-history theory that uses causes of selection topredict responses to selection. (shrink)
Within corporate social responsibility (CSR), the exploration of the political role of firms (political CSR) has recently experienced a revival. We review three key periods of political CSR literature—classic, instrumental, and new political CSR—and use the Rawlsian conceptualization of division of moral labor within political systems to describe each period’s background political theories. The three main arguments of the paper are as follows. First, classic CSR literature was more pluralistic in terms of background political theories than many later texts. Second, (...) instrumental CSR adopted classical liberalism and libertarian laissez-faire as its structural logic. Third, new political CSR, based on a strong globalist transition of responsibilities and tasks from governments to companies, lacks a conceptualization of division of moral labor that is needed to fully depart from a classical liberalist position. We end by providing a set of recommendations to develop pluralism in political CSR. (shrink)
Consumer driven and globally competitive financial markets are crucial for the future prosperity of the Finnish society (Laitamäki, Lehti and Paasio 1996). The largest transfer of wealth in history is currently taking place as Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) prepare for their retirement and inherit the assets of the previous generation. Due to cognitive limitations and emotional biases these consumers don’t always make rational decisions with financial services. This conceptual study addresses irrational financial consumer behavior and its impact on the Finnish (...) business and society. The study focuses on two research questions: 1) What type of behavioral finance concepts explain irrational consumer behavior? 2) What are the implications of these behaviors for the Finnish business and society? The purpose of this study is to assist individual consumers, business leaders and policy makers in making better financial services related decisions in Finland. The need for better decisions has been illustrated during Finnish and international financial crises including the US sub-prime loan turmoil in 2008. (shrink)
Can literary fictions convey significant philosophical views, understood in terms of propositional knowledge? This study addresses the philosophical value of literature by examining how literary works impart philosophy truth and knowledge and to what extent the works should be approached as communications of their authors. Beginning with theories of fiction, it examines the case against the prevailing ‘pretence’ and ‘make-believe’ theories of fiction hostile to propositional theories of literary truth. Tackling further arguments against the cognitive function and value of literature, (...) this study illustrates how literary works can contribute to knowledge by making assertions and suggestions and by providing hypotheses for the reader to assess. Through clear analysis of the concept of the author, the role of the authorial intention and the different approaches to the ‘meaning’ of a literary work, this study provides an historical survey to the cognitivist—anti-cognitivist dispute, introducing contemporary trends in the discussion before presenting a novel approach to recognizing the cognitive function of literature. An important contribution to philosophical studies of literature and knowledge. (shrink)
Rawls scholarship has not paid much attention to Rawls's early methodological writings so far, pretty much focusing on the reflective equilibrium (RE) which he is understood to have adopted in A Theory of Justice. Nelson Goodman's coherence-theoretical formulations concerning the justification of inductive logic in Fact, Fiction and Forecast have been suggested as the source of the RE. Following Rawls's methodological development in his early works, we shall challenge both these views. Our analysis reveals that the basic elements of RE (...) can be located in his essay. We shall further show that the origins of RE go all the way back to Aristotle's methods of ethics, as RE accords with the methodology entitled saving the appearances (SA) in recent Aristotle scholarship. (shrink)