This essay aims to introduce readers to the social studies of accounting, attending in particular to the roles and relevance of Foucault’s works for this field. We provide a brief overview of social studies of accounting, discuss recent developments in Foucault oriented accounting scholarship, and position the articles that appear in this special issue in the context of these developments. In the concluding section, we argue that accounting is an inherently territorializing activity. The calculative instruments of accountancy transform not only (...) the possibilities for personhood, they also construct the physical and abstract calculable spaces that individuals inhabit. A focus on territorializing shifts attention to the links between calculating and governing. (shrink)
Torture is (almost) universally condemned as barbaric and ineffective, yet it persists in the modern world. What factors influence levels of support for torture? Public opinion data from 31 countries in 2006 and 2008 (a total of 44 country-years) are used to test three hypotheses related to the acceptability of torture. The findings, first, show that outright majorities in 31 country-years reject the use of torture. Multiple regression results show that countries with high per capita income and low domestic repression (...) are less likely to support torture. Constraints on the executive have no significant effect on public opinion on torture. (shrink)
This essay introduces a cluster of articles titled “Devalued Currency: An Elegiac Symposium on Paradigm Shifts.” Eagleton's piece addresses, from a perspective indebted to Walter Benjamin, the notion of Thomas Kuhn that “shifts” in the controlling paradigms of disciplines and practices are entirely transformative not only of their futures but also of their pasts. Benjamin argued that a work of art is a set of potentials that may or may not be realized in the vicissitudes of its afterlife. The true (...) significance of works might be said, therefore, to emerge only after some as-yet-unexpected event or upheaval makes their significance apparent. In this sense, we might argue that historical events make full sense only in the light of “judgment day”; until then, history remains an incoherent chronicle. But the totality that will one day be revealed cannot be anticipated. The past is open-ended because the present is, and meanwhile, the meaning of history is in our hands to change. Since we have that power, Eagleton suggests that we recycle figures of the past as characters in a comedy rather than tragedy. Still, it is never possible to say which figures of the past and which works are ultimately important and which are not, because we cannot say which mutations will result in major developments to come. No work or person is important or peripheral in itself or himself; it is the critic and historian who render them so. (shrink)
The theme of this book is the crisis of the early modern state in eighteenth-century Britain. The revolt of the North American colonies and the simultaneous demand for wider religious toleration at home challenged the principles of sovereignty and obligation that underpinned arguments about the character of the state. These were expressed in terms of the 'common good', 'necessity', and 'community' - concepts that came to the fore in early modern European political thought and which gave expression to the problem (...) of defining legitimate authority in a period of increasing consciousness of state power. The Americans and their British supporters argued that individuals ought to determine the common good of the community. A new theory of representation and freedom of thought defines the cutting edge of this revolutionary redefinition of the basic relationship between individual and community. (shrink)
Eschewing the priority of either metaphysics or ethics, This paper addresses their common theme of axiology by proposing an alternative to psychologically based value theories to handle values in nature. Value, Understood as the richness of an entity's potential or realization of potential, Encompasses both extrinsic and intrinsic dimensions of natural values. Environmental ethics, Health, Personality theory, And other areas can be illumined by this conception of potentiality and of value as richness.
The conclusion of animal liberationists that the underlying assumptions of modern egalitarian humanism can be construed to imply an equal moral desert for the higher nonhuman animals has recently been challenged by R. G. Frey on the grounds that linguistic incompetence and lack of self-consciousness on the part of animals preclude them from having desires, beliefs, interests, and rights. AlthoughFrey’s arguments fail, they challenge us to provide alternative accounts of these descriptive and normative categories of human and animal psychology. Phenomenological (...) and behavioral analyses demonstrate both the meaningfulness and the truthfulness ofattributing desires, beliefs, and interests to many nonhuman animals. Principles ofaxiology and ethics prescribe that animal interests ought to be objects of our moral concern, but do not vindicate an egalitarian interpretation of animal liberation. A fundamental challenge of the anima1liberation debate is how to frame a nonegalitarian ethic that can nevertheless preserve the moral gains of various liberation movements inspired by principles of equality. (shrink)
There is a widespread conviction amongst nature lovers, environmental activists, and many writers on environmental ethics that the value of the natural world is not restricted to its utility to humankind, but contains an independent intrinsic worth as weIl. Most contemporary value theories, however, are psychologically based and thus ill-suited to characterize such natural intrinsic value. The theory of “value asrichness” presented in this paper attempts to articulate a plausible nonpsychological theory of value that accomodates environmentalist convictions as weIl as (...) more traditional value concems. It has implications not only for our care for and preservation of nature, but also for the enrichment of human lives. (shrink)
Abstract: Moral experts are in demand, but could there be a supply and what would they be like? An analysis of expertise in general as ? know?how? reveals a variety of forms, both cognitive and practical, and this variety is evident in the moral domain as well. In particular we can distinguish expert moral philosophers, judges, educators, casuists and performers, each of which is to be identified by distinctive criteria, some of which are adumbrated. An ? expert? moral person is (...) expert at living well, and this can be measured against both ideal and practical standards. Practically speaking, one has achieved relative moral expertise or excellence when one does some things well to some benefit to some others as well as oneself while leading a relatively nondestructive life. (shrink)