The article tries to inquire a third way in normativeethics between consequentialism or utilitarianism and deontology or Kantianism. To find such a third way in normativeethics, one has to analyze the elements of these classical theories and to look if they are justified. In this article it is argued that an adequate normativeethics has to contain the following five elements: (1) normative individualism, i. e., the view that in the last (...) instance moral norms and values can only be justified by reference to the individuals concerned, as its basis; (2) consideration of the individuals’ concerns and interests—aims, desires, needs, strivings—insofar as they have a justificatory function; (3) a pluralism of references of these concerns and hence of moral norms and values to all possible elements of actions; (4) the necessity of a principle of aggregation and weighing with regard to these concerns; (5) finally, as a central principle of aggregation and weighing, the principle of relative reference to self and others, operating as a generalizing meta-principle that guides the application of concrete principles and decisions. (shrink)
The article tries to inquire a third way in normativeethics between consequentialism or utilitarianism and deontology or Kantianism. To find such a third way in normativeethics, one has to analyze the elements of these classical theories and to look if they are justified. In this article it is argued that an adequate normativeethics has to contain the following five elements: (1) normative individualism, i. e., the view that in the last (...) instance moral norms and values can only be justified by reference to the individuals concerned, as its basis; (2) consideration of the individuals' concerns and interests—aims, desires, needs, strivings—insofar as they have a justificatory function; (3) a pluralism of references of these concerns and hence of moral norms and values to all possible elements of actions; (4) the necessity of a principle of aggregation and weighing with regard to these concerns; (5) finally, as a central principle of aggregation and weighing, the principle of relative reference to self and others, operating as a generalizing meta-principle that guides the application of concrete principles and decisions. (shrink)
The impact of science on ethics forms since long the subject of intense debate. Although there is a growing consensus that science can describe morality and explain its evolutionary origins, there is less consensus about the ability of science to provide input to the normative domain of ethics. Whereas defenders of a scientific normativeethics appeal to naturalism, its critics either see the naturalistic fallacy committed or argue that the relevance of science to normative (...)ethics remains undemonstrated. In this paper, we argue that current scientific normative ethicists commit no fallacy, that criticisms of scientific ethics contradict each other, and that scientific insights are relevant to normative inquiries by informing ethics about the options open to the ethical debate. Moreover, when conceiving normativeethics as being a nonfoundational ethics, science can be used to evaluate every possible norm. This stands in contrast to foundational ethics in which some norms remain beyond scientific inquiry. Finally, we state that a difference in conception of normativeethics underlies the disagreement between proponents and opponents of a scientific ethics. Our argument is based on and preceded by a reconsideration of the notions naturalistic fallacy and foundational ethics. This argument differs from previous work in scientific ethics: whereas before the philosophical project of naturalizing the normative has been stressed, here we focus on concrete consequences of biological findings for normative decisions or on the day-to-day normative relevance of these scientific insights. (shrink)
What is ethics in the contemporary world? What is the need of defining ethics and, secondly, defining it in contemporary context? The meaning of ethics is so ambiguous to nonphilosophical academicians, corporate world, and others who look to the meaning in the branch of Philosophy called Ethics. At the end of endless debates, if the purpose of getting a definition is done, it is clarity in thinking in defining ethics which would happen. This may lead (...) to clarity in the study of ethics. And why should one study ethics at all? Ethics is interwoven at various levels in our life. The same individual is often in an obligation to face ethics at different levels like home, office, society, etc., or different ethical obligations. With a number of normative theories, the individual mind would be indefinite as to which one to follow. Is it just one theory alone which can be resorted to in an ethical dilemma or a combination of them? Are these theories practical also? Or are they just theories per se? To clear this ambiguity and in order to define ethics, the discussion of the meaning of ethics is important. This paper answers the above questions and throws light on the enquiry. This study hence is an exploratory one. Since the word ethics is interwoven with morality, it is worthwhile to define the word moral. (shrink)
I came late to philosophy and even later to normativeethics. When I started my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in 1970, I was interested in mathematics and languages. I soon discovered, however, that my mathematical talents were rather meager compared to the truly talented. I therefore decided to study actuarial science (the applied mathematics of risk assessment for insurance and pension plans) rather than abstract math. After two years, however, I dropped out of university, went (...) to work for a life insurance company, and started studying on my own for the ten professional actuarial exams. When not studying, I would often go to the public library and I was drawn to the philosophy section—although I had no idea of what philosophy was about. I there saw Logical Positivism, edited by A.J. Ayer. I was interested in logical thinking and I also favored an optimistic attitude towards life (!) and so I thought that the book might be interesting. I checked it out and was absolutely enthralled with the writings of Bertrand Russell, Rudolf Carnap, Carl Hempel and others (if I’m remembering correctly). Of course, I didn’t really understand much of what they were doing, but I did see that they were addressing important problems in a systematic and rigorous manner. I liked it! (shrink)
As business environments become more complex and reliant on information systems, the decisions made by managers affect a growing number of stakeholders. This paper proposes a framework based on the application of normative theories in business ethics to facilitate the evaluation of IS related ethical dilemmas and arrive at fair and consistent decisions. The framework is applied in the context of an information privacy dilemma to demonstrate the decision making process. The ethical dilemma is analyzed using each one (...) of the three normative theories—the stockholder theory, stakeholder theory, and social contract theory. The challenges associated with the application of these theories are also discussed. (shrink)
A review of the stakeholder literature reveals that the concept of "normative core" can be applied in three main ways: philosophical justification of stakeholder theory, theoretical governing principles of a firm, and managerial beliefs/values influencing the underlying narrative of business. When considering the case of Wall Street, we argue that the managerial application of normative core reveals the imbedded nature of the fact/value dichotomy. Problems arise when the work of the fact/value dichotomy contributes to a closed-core institution. We (...) make the distinction between open- and closed-core institutions to show how in the case of the closed-core, ethical decision-making is viewed by the institution as a separate domain from the core business of the institution. The resulting blind spot stifles meaningful exchanges with stakeholders attempting to address the need for reform. We suggest in conclusion that ethical considerations are less about casting a value judgment and more about creating a process for meaningful conversation throughout an institution and its stakeholders. (shrink)
abstract This article briefly examines Onora O'Neill's account of the relation between normative principles and practical ethical problems with an eye to suggesting that philosophers of practical ethics have reason to adopt fairly high moral ambitions to be edifying and instructive both as educators and as advisors on public policy debates.
The familiar argument from disagreement has been an important focal point of discussion in contemporary meta-ethics. Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of interdisciplinary work between philosophers and psychologists about moral psychology. Working within this trend, John Doris and Alexandra Plakias have made a tentative version of the argument from disagreement on empirical grounds. Doris and Plakias present empirical evidence in support of premise 4, that ethics is beset by fundamental disagreement. They examine Richard Brandt (...) on Hopi ethics and, especially, Richard E. Nisbett & Dov Cohen on cultures of honor to make a prima facie version of this case. This raises important questions. Are Doris and Plakias correct that there is even a prima facie empirical basis for moral anti-realism? What sort of empirical contribution can be made to such debates in meta-ethics? I argue that we should have reservations about the prospects of empirical contributions to the argument from disagreement. Specifically, before empirical results from psychology can be used to offer conclusions about meta-ethical issues, more careful attention must be paid to normativeethics, and especially to normative theory. There are two parts to this position. First, there is good reason to think that the evidence we currently have about moral disagreement is irrelevant to the meta-ethical debate. Second, the relevant evidence is useless for meta-ethical purposes on its own. Instead, it must be combined with normative theorizing about value pluralism. (shrink)
Ayn Rand is well known for advocating egoism, but the substance of that instruction is rarely understood. Far from representing the rejection of morality, selfishness, in Rand's view, actually demands the practice of a systematic code of ethics. This book explains the fundamental virtues that Rand considers vital for a person to achieve their objective well-being: rationality, honesty, independence, justice, integrity, productiveness, and pride. Tracing Rand's account of the value and harmony of human beings' rational interests, Smith examines what (...) each of these virtues consists of, why it is a virtue, and what it demands of people in practice. Along the way she addresses the status of several conventional virtues within Rand's theory, considering traits such as kindness, charity, generosity, temperance, courage, forgiveness, and humility. Ayn Rand's NormativeEthics thus offers an in-depth exploration of several specific virtues and an illuminating integration of these with the broader theory of egoism. (shrink)
The aim of this study was to synthesize the concepts from empirical studies and analyze, compare and interrelate them with normativeethics. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the Health and Medical Service Act are normativeethics. Five concepts were used in the analysis; three from the grounded theory studies and two from the theoretical framework on normativeethics. A simultaneous concept analysis resulted in five outcomes: interconnectedness, interdependence, corroboratedness, completeness and good care (...) are all related to the empirical perspective of the nurse’s interaction with the older patient, and the normative perspective, i.e. that found in ICN code and SFS law. Empirical ethics and normativeethics are intertwined according to the findings of this study. Normativeethics influence the nurse’s practical performance and could be supporting documents for nurses as professionals. (shrink)
The course of normativeethics in the 20th century was a roller-coaster ride, from a period of skilled and confident theorizing in the first third of the century, through a virtual disappearance in the face of various forms of skepticism in the middle third, to a partial revival, though shadowed by remnants of that skepticism, in the final third. The ideal future of normativeethics therefore lies in its past. It must entirely shed its traces of (...) mid-century skepticism if it is to return to the levels of insight provided by G. E. Moore, Hastings Rashdall, J. M. E. McTaggart, W. D. Ross, C. D. Broad, and other early 20th century moral theorists. (shrink)
I became interested in normativeethics in my last term as a philosophy undergraduate at the University of Toronto. Influenced by a traditional conception of the discipline, I’d till then studied mostly history of philosophy, with a special interest in, of all things, Hegel. But seeing the value of a balanced philosophy program, I enrolled in an ethics seminar in the winter of 1975. I’d studied the ethics of Plato, Leibniz, Hegel, and others in my history (...) courses, but this was my first exposure to contemporary thought on the subject. The seminar had only one other student, and since he was fairly quiet I had something close to a one-on-one tutorial with the instructor, Wayne Sumner – another contributor to this volume. I was immensely taken both by Wayne’s teaching and by the seminar’s topic, which was utilitarianism. Our study of it included both theoretical questions such as act- vs. ruleutilitarianism and applied ones such as our obligations to future generations. I found all these questions intellectually engaging and also humanly important, given their connection to live ethical issues – in short, I was hooked. I was especially impressed by two non-utilitarian texts we read. One was the last chapter of G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica, meant to illustrate a non- 1 utilitarian or ideal consequentialist theory. I was attracted by Moore’s general account of the good, which values states such as love and aesthetic appreciation alongside pleasure, and saw in his principle of organic unities a far clearer statement of ideas I had encountered in more pretentious form in Hegel. The second was Chapter 2 of W. D. Ross’s The Right and the Good, which defends a pluralist deontology against consequentialism. I thought Ross’s criticisms of consequentialism were right on the mark, and again clearly and precisely expressed. I had no idea these texts were largely passé in current discussions of the subject. At this time I was applying to graduate programs in philosophy, and given my new interest decided to specialize in ethics.. (shrink)
This chapter discusses the philosophical relevance of empirical research on moral cognition. It distinguishes three central aims of normative ethical theory: understanding the nature of moral agency, identifying morally right actions, and determining the justification of moral beliefs. For each of these aims, the chapter considers and rejects arguments against employing cognitive scientific research in normative inquiry. It concludes by suggesting that, whichever of the central aims one begins from, normativeethics is improved by engaging with (...) the science of moral cognition. (shrink)
Owen Flanagan has recently argued for the claim that "the overall spirit--of Quine's philosophy warrants [a]--robust, realistic, and cognitivist picture of ethics." I believe that Flanagan's interpretation of Quine's philosophy is mistaken. Specifically, I argue that the overall spirit of Quine's philosophy, especially his treatment of cognitive meaning, warrants a noncognitivist and thus antirealist account of normativeethics My argument helps explain what Quine means when he wrote that ethics is methodologically infirm as compared to science.
The history of the conceptualisation of social responsibility reveals three main themes: The profitability of SR, SR as stakeholder theory, and ethics as a force in SR. In this paper, I will argue that all three themes are philosophically unsound and rest on suspicious assumptions. First, there is little evidence that SR increases profits; second, stakeholder theory fails to give managers practical ethical decision-making skills; and, finally, ethics should not be viewed as a subset of social responsibility, but (...) as central to its conceptualisation. In fact, much of what is defined as corporate responsibility is innocuous; leaving managers ill equipped to solve specific moral dilemmas. Moreover, normativeethics is often lost in the conceptualisation of social responsibility. This paper calls for the rediscovery of ethics into business decision-making. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in NormativeEthics is an annual forum for new work in normative ethical theory. Leading philosophers present original contributions to our understanding of a wide range of moral issues and positions, from analysis of competing approaches to normativeethics (including consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics) to questions of how we should act and live well. OSNE will be an essential resource for scholars and students working in moral philosophy.
This paper identifies the different normative ethical arguments stated and suggested by Arjuna and Krishna in the Gītā , analyzes those arguments, examines the interrelations between those arguments, and demonstrates that, contrary to a common view, both Arjuna and Krishna advance ethical theories of a broad consequentialist nature. It is shown that Krishna’s ethical theory, in particular, is a distinctive kind of rule-consequentialism that takes as intrinsically valuable the twin consequences of mokṣa and lokasaṃgraha . It is also argued (...) that Krishna’s teachings in the Gītā gain in depth, coherence, and critical relevance what they lose in simplicity when the ethical theory underlying those teachings is understood as a consequentialism of this kind rather than as a deontology. (shrink)
Bioethical research has tended to focus on theoretical discussion of the principles on which the analysis of ethical issues in biomedicine should be based. But this discussion often seems remote from biomedical practice where researchers and physicians confront ethical problems. On the other hand, published empirical research on the ethical reasoning of health care professionals offer only descriptions of how physicians and nurses actually reason ethically. The question remains whether these descriptions have any normative implications for nurses and physicians? (...) In this article, we illustrate an approach that integrates empirical research into the formulation of normative ethical principles using the moral-philosophical method of Wide Reflective Equilibrium (WRE). The research method discussed in this article was developed in connection with the project ‘Bioethics in Theory and Practice’. The purpose of this project is to investigate ethical reasoning in biomedical practice in Denmark empirically. In this article, we take the research method as our point of departure, but we exclusively discuss the theoretical framework of the method, not its empirical results. We argue that the descriptive phenomenological hermeneutical method developed by Lindseth and Norberg (2004) and Pedersen (1999) can be combined with the theory of WRE to arrive at a decision procedure and thus a foundation for the formulation of normative ethical principles. This could provide health care professionals and biomedical researchers with normative principles about how to analyse, reason and act in ethically difficult situations in their practice. We also show how to use existing bioethical principles as inspiration for interpreting the empirical findings of qualitative studies. This may help researchers design their own empirical studies in the field of ethics. (shrink)
The idea of radical pedagogy is connected to the ideals of social justice and democracy and also to the ethical demands of love, care and human flourishing, an emotional context that is sometimes forgotten in discussions of power and inequality. Both this emotional context and also the emphasis on politics can be found in the writings of Paolo Freire, someone who has provided much inspiration for radical pedagogy over the years. However, Freire did not create any explicit ethical foundation for (...) radical pedagogy. This paper argues that, when constructing normative grounds for radical pedagogy, Habermas’s discourse ethics can be an important source, with the caveat that discourse ethics on its own is not sufficient grounding enough where radical pedagogy is concerned. Habermasian critical theory should be supplemented with Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition, as Freire’s focus on love and human flourishing corresponds well with Honneth’s theory’s three modes of recognition: love, rights and respect (solidarity stemming from mutual relations of respect). (shrink)
In this article I argue that the ethics of care provides us with a novel reading of human relations, and therefore makes possible a fresh approach to several empirical challenges. In order to explore this connection, I discuss some specific normative features of the ethics of care—primarily the comprehension of the moral agent and the concept of care—as these two key elements contribute substantially to a new ethical outlook. Subsequently, I argue that the relational and reciprocal mode (...) of thinking with regard to the moral agent must be extended to our understanding of care. I term this comprehension “mature care”. Citing conflicts of interests as examples, I demonstrate how this conceptualization of care may further advance the ethics of care’s ability to take on empirical challenges. Finally, I discuss political implications that may emanate from the ethics of care and the concept of mature care. (shrink)
Empirical studies on people's moral attitudes regarding ethically challenging topics contribute greatly to research in medical ethics. However, it is not always clear in which ways this research adds to medical ethics as a normative discipline. In this article, we aim to provide a systematic account of the different ways in which attitudinal research can be used for normative reflection. In the first part, we discuss whether ethical judgements can be based on empirical work alone and (...) we develop a sceptical position regarding this point, taking into account theoretical, methodological and pragmatic considerations. As empirical data should not be taken as a direct source for normative justification, we then delineate different ways in which attitudes research can be combined with theoretical accounts of normative justification in the second part of the article. Firstly, the combination of attitudes research with normative-ethical theories is analysed with respect to three different aspects: (a) The extent of empirical data which is needed, (b) the question of which kind of data is required and (c) the ways in which the empirical data are processed within the framework of an ethical theory. Secondly, two further functions of attitudes research are displayed which lie outside the traditional focus of ethical theories: the exploratory function of detecting and characterising new ethical problems, and the field of ‘moral pragmatics’. The article concludes with a methodological outlook and suggestions for the concrete practice of attitudinal research in medical ethics. (shrink)
In this paper I outline Donald Davidson’s account of two forms of irrationality, akrasia and self-deception, and relate this account to ethical action and belief. His view of irrationality is generally a Freudian one, to the effect that agents must compartmentalize both offending particular mental contents, and governing second order principles. Davidson also hints that his account of akrasia and self-deception might show certain normative and meta-ethical theories to be irrational, insofar as they too engender irrationality. I explore these (...) hints, and hopefully show both that Davidson is correct about irrationality and correct that certain ethical theories (e.g. Kantian deontology and certain forms of moral realism) engender irrationality as well. I believe this to be no great loss to ethics generally, but will hopefully aid our understanding of how ethical action and belief actually happen. (shrink)
Stakeholder theory is an important part of modern business ethics. Many scholars argue for a normative instead of an instrumental approach to stakeholder theory. Recent examples of such an approach show that problems appear with respect to the ethical foundation as well as the specification of the norms and the relation between corporate and individual responsibilities. This paper argues for the relevance of Aristotle's ideas on ethics and politics, and especially the link between them, for stakeholder theory. (...) An Aristotelian approach suggests that the corporation should be considered as existing to allow the decision maker, who normally is a manager, to live a complete and good life and to make decisions that involve the interests of different stakeholders. This approach leads to a number of implications regarding the role of organizational politics and the managerial function. (shrink)
Using the works of Richard Rorty and John Caputo, I want to suggest that we might be better off treating the traditional ethical theories of Kant, Mill, Aristotle and Hobbes as normative narratives rather than as justificatory schemes for moral decision making to be set up against one another. In a spirit akin to Husserl's 'bracketing' of metaphysics, when discussing ethical theories in business ethics, we can easily avoid metaphysics and (...) use an approach that sees ethical theory as socially convincing normative narratives – narratives that unify us with others insofar as they describe our phenomenological experiences in a way with which many of us mutually resonate. I will do this by attempting to show how John Caputo's thinking in Against Ethics and Rorty's postmodern pragmatism might be appropriated to some extent by us in business ethics. (shrink)
The three leading normative theories of business ethics are the stockholder theory, the stakeholder theory, and the social contracttheory. Currently, the stockholder theory is somewhat out of favor with many members of the business ethics community. Thestakeholder theory, in contrast, is widely accepted, and the social contract theory appears to be gaining increasing adherents. In thisarticle, I undertake a critical review of the supporting arguments for each of the theories, and argue that the stockholder theory is neitheras (...) outdated nor as flawed as it is sometimes made to seem and that there are significant problems with the grounding of both thestakeholder and social contract theory. I conclude by suggesting that a truly adequate normative theory of business ethics must ultimately be grounded in individual consent. (shrink)
Gaski (1999) is critical of marketing ethics and suggests that its ethical guidelines amount to no more than "obey the law" and "act in your self-interest". This reply questions Gaski''s critique and clarifies possible misconceptions about the field that might otherwise result. It identifies the limitations and assumptions of Gaski''s argument and shows that there are exceptions to his central proposition even when narrowly circumscribed. It is not disputed that there is merit to reminding managers of their obligations to (...) obey the law and to act in their enlightened self-interest. However, although fulfilling these obligations is generally a necessary requirement for good conduct, it is not sufficient. There are situations where ethics demands more of marketing managers than "obey the law" and "act in your self-interest". In addition, managers may face situations where ethics, the law and self-interest are inconsistent. The article incorporates observations on the role of normative marketing ethics, including the requirement to develop ethical theory for marketing as well as ethical guidelines. (shrink)
This paper carries forward the conceptual clarification of normative theories of business ethics ably begun by Hasnas in the January 1998 issue of BEQ. This paper proposes a normatively neutral framework for discussing and assessing such normative theories. Every normative theory needs to address these seven issues: it needs to specify a moral principle that identifies (1) recommended values and (2) the grounds for accepting those values. It also must specify (3) a decision principle that business (...) people who accept the theory can use. It must determine (4) who the normative theory applies to and (5) whose interests need to be considered. It must also outline (6) in what contexts it applies, and (7) what legal and regulatory structures it assumes. Once clarified, this paper applies the framework to the normative versions of stockholder theory, stakeholder theory, and ISCT. It is concluded that ISCT is the most promising normative theory currently under discussion, but that there are some major issues that ISCT has not dealt with yet. (shrink)
After examining Frederick's charge in his recently published Values, Nature, and Culture in the American Corporation that philosophers and others in the field of business ethics and business and society ignore nature and technology, the paper investigates Frederick's attempt to articulate and defend a New Normative Synthesis (NNS). Since the NNS is the result of a synthesis between Frederick's theory of business values and the body of principles in business ethics, I focus on the nature of each (...) component, the nature of the synthesis, and the nature of the resulting NNS itself. Inquiry reveals serious questions about the explanatory value of the theory of business values as a descriptive theory, as well as serious questions about the defense of the theory as normative theory. The analysis also discloses several possible interpretations of the NNS. (shrink)
Towards the general goal of generating a normative-empirical dialogue about ethics and justice, the present study explored three issues: (1) the extent to which the normative criteria of ethics and justice prescribed by moral philosophers are indeed reflected in managerial professionals' subjective beliefs of what ethical and just work behaviour ought to be, (2) the relationship between people's ought beliefs and their perceptions of actual ethical and just work behaviour, and (3) the relationship between the notions (...) of ethics and justice. To do so, a review of the normative and positive theories of ethics was carried out which revealed the key normative criteria of ethics (i.e., utility, rights, justice, principle and care) and justice (i.e., due procedure and due outcome). Using both the interview and the repertory grid procedures, key determinants of ethical and just work behaviour as perceived by the managerial professionals were generated. These determinants were used to construct the questionnaires for the assessment of people's subjective ought beliefs, and their is judgements, of ethical and just work behaviour. There were three respondent samples: managerial professionals, general public and university students. Results showed that (1) people's subjective ought beliefs closely reflected the normative standards of ethics and justice, (2) there were significant discrepancies between people's subjective ought beliefs and their perceptions of actual ethical and just work behaviour, (3) individual differences in ought beliefs had some influence on is judgements, (4) both the ought beliefs and is judgements pertaining to the notion of justice could be accounted for by measures of the other four criteria of ethics and in particular, the notion of rights. The implications of the findings for normative theories of ethics and for ethics education are discussed. (shrink)
This paper outlines three conceptions of the relationship between normative and empirical business ethics, views we refer to as parallel, symbiotic, and integrative. Parallelism rejects efforts to link normative and empirical inquiry, for both conceptual and practical reasons. The symbiotic position supports a practical relationship in which normative and/or empirical business ethics rely on each other for guidance in setting agenda or in applying the results of their conceptually and methodologically distinct inquiries. Theoretical integration countenances (...) a deeper merging of prima facie distinct forms of inquiry, involving alterations or combinations of theory, metatheoretical assumptions, and methodology. This paper explicates these positions, summarizes arguments for and against each, and considers their implications for the future of business ethics research. (shrink)
Background The increase in empirical methods of research in bioethics over the last two decades is typically perceived as a welcomed broadening of the discipline, with increased integration of social and life scientists into the field and ethics consultants into the clinical setting, however it also represents a loss of confidence in the typical normative and analytic methods of bioethics. Discussion The recent incipiency of "Evidence-Based Ethics" attests to this phenomenon and should be rejected as a solution (...) to the current ambivalence toward the normative resolution of moral problems in a pluralistic society. While "evidence-based" is typically read in medicine and other life and social sciences as the empirically-adequate standard of reasonable practice and a means for increasing certainty, I propose that the evidence-based movement in fact gains consensus by displacing normative discourse with aggregate or statistically-derived empirical evidence as the "bottom line". Therefore, along with wavering on the fact/value distinction, evidence-based ethics threatens bioethics' normative mandate. The appeal of the evidence-based approach is that it offers a means of negotiating the demands of moral pluralism. Rather than appealing to explicit values that are likely not shared by all, "the evidence" is proposed to adjudicate between competing claims. Quantified measures are notably more "neutral" and democratic than liberal markers like "species normal functioning". Yet the positivist notion that claims stand or fall in light of the evidence is untenable; furthermore, the legacy of positivism entails the quieting of empirically non-verifiable (or at least non-falsifiable) considerations like moral claims and judgments. As a result, evidence-based ethics proposes to operate with the implicit normativity that accompanies the production and presentation of all biomedical and scientific facts unchecked. Summary The "empirical turn" in bioethics signals a need for reconsideration of the methods used for moral evaluation and resolution, however the options should not include obscuring normative content by seemingly neutral technical measure. (shrink)
Business ethics as an applied inquiry requires an expanded normative method which allows both philosophical and religious ethical considerations to be employed in resolving complex issues or cases. The proposed foundational normative method provides a comprehensive framework composed of major philosophical and religious ethical theories. An extensive rationale from the current trends in business ethics and metaethical considerations supports the development of this method which is illustrated in several case studies. By using this method, scholars and (...) business persons gain greater certitude about the ethical quality of their deliberations and decision making than what may be achieved with current nonsystematic or nascent normative methods. (shrink)
The empirical-normative split in business ethics is another manifestation of the fact-value problem that has existed betweenscience and philosophy for several centuries. This paper explores classical American pragmatism’s understanding of the fact-valuedistinction, showing how it offers a different way of understanding the empirical business ethics–normative business ethics issue.Unfolding the pragmatic perspective on this issue involves a focus on its understanding of both the nature of empirical inquiry and thenature of normative inquiry.
BackgroundThe methodology of medical ethics during the last few decades has shifted from a predominant use of normative-philosophical analyses to an increasing involvement of empirical methods. The articles which have been published in the course of this so-called 'empirical turn' can be divided into conceptual accounts of empirical-normative collaboration and studies which use socio-empirical methods to investigate ethically relevant issues in concrete social contexts.DiscussionA considered reference to normative research questions can be expected from good quality empirical (...) research in medical ethics. However, a significant proportion of empirical studies currently published in medical ethics lacks such linkage between the empirical research and the normative analysis. In the first part of this paper, we will outline two typical shortcomings of empirical studies in medical ethics with regard to a link between normative questions and empirical data: (1) The complete lack of normative analysis, and (2) cryptonormativity and a missing account with regard to the relationship between 'is' and 'ought' statements. Subsequently, two selected concepts of empirical-normative collaboration will be presented and how these concepts may contribute to improve the linkage between normative and empirical aspects of empirical research in medical ethics will be demonstrated. Based on our analysis, as well as our own practical experience with empirical research in medical ethics, we conclude with a sketch of concrete suggestions for the conduct of empirical research in medical ethics.SummaryHigh quality empirical research in medical ethics is in need of a considered reference to normative analysis. In this paper, we demonstrate how conceptual approaches of empirical-normative collaboration can enhance empirical research in medical ethics with regard to the link between empirical research and normative analysis. (shrink)
How can one establish if a corporate code of ethics is ethical in terms of its content? One important first step might be the establishment of core universal moral values by which corporate codes of ethics can be ethically constructed and evaluated. Following a review of normative research on corporate codes of ethics, a set of universal moral values is generated by considering three sources: (1) corporate codes of ethics; (2) global codes of ethics; (...) and (3) the business ethics literature. Based on the convergence of the three sources of standards, six universal moral values for corporate codes of ethics are proposed including: (1) trustworthiness; (2) respect; (3) responsibility; (4) fairness; (5) caring; and (6) citizenship. Relying on the proposed set of universal moral values, implications are discussed as to what the content of corporate codes of ethics should consist of. The paper concludes with its limitations. (shrink)
Habermas charges that Foucault's work `cannot account for its normative foundations'. Responses to Habermas have consisted mostly of, on one hand, attempts to identify foundational normative assumptions implicit in Foucault's work, and, on the other hand, attempts to show that Foucault's work discredits the very idea of normative foundations. These attempts have suffered from a lack of clarity about Habermas' notion of normative foundations. In this article I clarify the terms of the debate by considering Habermas' (...) critique of Foucault in light of his moral philosophy. I examine three representative responses to Habermas on Foucault's behalf, which attempt to identify normative foundations in Foucault's work, and I show why none of them meets Habermas' requirements. Finally, I argue that while Foucault's political judgments cannot have normative foundations, Foucault does adhere to the principles of Habermas' discourse ethics, and his doing so does not conflict with his genealogical approach. (shrink)
Recent arguments for normative realism have centered on attempts to meet a demand on normative facts articulated by harman, That they be required for explanations of uncontroversial phenomena. This paper argues that another argument for normative realism should take precedence, An argument suggested by williams's skeptical discussion of moral objectivity in "ethics and the limits of philosophy".
Conceptualization and measurement of organizational commitment involve different dimensions that include economic, affective, as well as moral aspects labelled in the literature as: ‘continuance’, ‘affective’ and ‘normative’ commitment. This multidimensional framework emerges from the convergence of different research lines. Using Aristotle’s philosophical framework, that explicitly considers the role of the will in human commitment, it is proposed a rational explanation of the existence of mentioned dimensions in organizational commitment. Such a theoretical proposal may offer a more accurate definition (...) of ‘affective commitment’ that distinguishes feelings from rational judgments. The use of a philosophical explanation coherent with psychological findings also allows the discovery of a wider moral concept of ‘normative commitment’. (shrink)
Do philosophy professors specializing in ethics behave, on average, any morally better than do other professors? If not, do they at least behave more consistently with their expressed values? These questions have never been systematically studied. We examine the self-reported moral attitudes and moral behavior of 198 ethics professors, 208 non-ethicist philosophers, and 167 professors in departments other than philosophy on eight moral issues: academic society membership, voting, staying in touch with one's mother, vegetarianism, organ and blood donation, (...) responsiveness to student emails, charitable giving, and honesty in responding to survey questionnaires. On some issues, we also had direct behavioral measures that we could compare with the self-reports. Ethicists expressed somewhat more stringent normative attitudes on some issues, such as vegetarianism and charitable donation. However, on no issue did ethicists show unequivocally better behavior than the two comparison groups. Our findings on attitude-behavior consistency were mixed: ethicists showed the strongest relationship between behavior and expressed moral attitude regarding voting but the weakest regarding charitable donation. We discuss implications for several models of the relationship between philosophical reflection and real-world moral behavior. (shrink)