The Sermon on the Mount is not abstract idealism. It connects to our political contest not least because it insists on the big questions of purpose and ends and how society should be ordered. Rooted in the Old Testament focus on the fair distribution of wealth (ensuring the poor get priority) – cf. Proverbs 2, 8, 9, 14, 15, 29 – the Sermon is a programme for social citizenship and local community development.
The text discusses the importance of religion as a symbolic construct which derives from fundamental human needs. At the same time, religious symbolism can function as an explanation for the major crises existent in the lives of individuals or their communities, even if they live in a democratic or a totalitarian system. Its presence is facilitated by the assumption of the biographical element existent in the philosophical and theological reflection and its extrapolation in a biography which concerns the communities and (...) its governmental resorts. It is in this context that we discuss the way in which the myth concerning the death of God can influence the formation of politicalethics relevant for the contemporary man. From the analysis of the signification of the death of God in the contemporary Judaic theology and philosophy emerges a series of important elements for the creation of a politicalethics situated between biblical morals and the extermination of the innocents in the 20th century. (shrink)
Must we fight terrorism with terror and torture with torture? Must we sacrifice civil liberty to protect public safety?In the age of terrorism Michael Ignatieff argues that we must not shrink from the use of violence. But its use - in a liberal democracy - must be measured. And we must not fool ourselves that whatever we do in the name of freedom and democracy is good. We may need to kill to fight the greater evil of terrorism, but we (...) must never pretend that doing so is anything better than a lesser evil.In making this case, Ignatieff traces the modern history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and the unprecedented menace of Al Qaeda. He shows how the most potent response to terror has been force, decisive and direct, yet restrained. The public scrutiny and politicalethics that motivate restraint also give democracy its strongest weapon: the moral power to endure when vengeance and hatred are spent. (shrink)
How do the hard facts of political responsibility shape and constrain the demands of ethical life? That question lies at the heart of the problem of 'dirty hands' in public life. Those who exercise political power often feel they must act in ways which would otherwise be considered immoral: indeed, paradoxically, they sometimes feel that it would be immoral of them not to perform or condone such acts as killing or lying. John Parrish offers the first wide-ranging account (...) of how this important philosophical problem emerged and developed, tracing it - and its proposed solutions - from ancient Greece through the Enlightenment. His central argument is that many of our most familiar concepts and institutions - from Augustine's interiorized ethics, to Hobbes's sovereign state, to Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' understanding of the modern commercial economy - were designed partly as responses to the ethical problem of dirty hands in public life. (shrink)
This paper attempts to mediate between the extremes of a managerial conception of business ethics which subordinates it to management and a political conception which subordinates it to political philosophy. The mediated position arrived at sees the central focus of business ethics in the intersection of micro-managerial concerns with macro-political ones provided by the task of determining morally optimum forms of business. Involvement with the macro rules out subordination to management while, conversely, involvement with the (...) micro rules out subordination to political philosophy. Moreover, such is the (increasing) social importance of business, that business ethics can have at least co-equal explanatory status with political philosophy as a discipline. (shrink)
Responsible citizens are expected to combine ethical judgement with judiciously exercised social activism to preserve the moral foundation of democratic society and prevent political injustice. But do they? Utilizing a research model integrating insights from rational choice theory and cognitive developmental psychology this book carefully explores three exemplary cases of morally inspired activism: Jewish rescue in wartime Europe, abortion politics in the United States, and peace and settler activism in Israel. From all three analyses a single conclusion emerges: the (...) most politically competent individuals are, most often, the least morally competent. This is the central paradox of political morality. These findings cast doubt on strong models of political morality characterized by enlightened moral reasoning and concerted political action while affirming alternative weak models that fuse activism with sectarian moral interests. They provide empirical support to further upend the liberal vision of democratic character, education, and society. (shrink)
How should politicians act? When should they try to lead public opinion and when should they follow it? Should politicians see themselves as experts, whose opinions have greater authority than other people's, or as participants in a common dialogue with ordinary citizens? When do virtues like toleration and willingness to compromise deteriorate into moral weakness? In this innovative work, Andrew Sabl answers these questions by exploring what a democratic polity needs from its leaders. He concludes that there are systematic, principled (...) reasons for the holders of divergent political offices or roles to act differently. Sabl argues that the morally committed civil rights activist, the elected representative pursuing legislative results, and the grassroots organizer determined to empower ordinary citizens all have crucial democratic functions. But they are different functions, calling for different practices and different qualities of political character. To make this case, he draws on political theory, moral philosophy, leadership studies, and biographical examples ranging from Everett Dirksen to Ella Baker, Frances Willard to Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King Jr. to Joe McCarthy. Ruling Passions asks democratic theorists to pay more attention to the "governing pluralism" that characterizes a diverse, complex democracy. It challenges moral philosophy to adapt its prescriptions to the real requirements of democratic life, to pay more attention to the virtues of political compromise and the varieties of human character. And it calls on all democratic citizens to appreciate "democratic constancy": the limited yet serious standard of ethical character to which imperfect democratic citizens may rightly hold their leaders--and themselves. (shrink)
The eagerly-awaited second volume of The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts will allow scholars and students access for the first time in English to major texts in ethics and political thought from one of the most fruitful periods of speculation and analysis in the history of western thought. Beginning with Albert the Great, who introduced the Latin west to the challenging moral philosophy and natural science of Aristotle, and concluding with the first substantial presentation in English of (...) the revolutionary ideas on property and political power of John Wyclif, the seventeen texts in this anthology offer late medieval treatments of fundamental issues in human conduct that are both conceptually subtle and of direct practical import. Special features of this volume include copious editorial introductions, an analytical index, and suggestions for further reading. This is an important resource for scholars and students of medieval philosophy, history, political science, theology and literature. (shrink)
Questioning the usual judgements of politicalethics, Ruth W. Grant argues that hypocrisy can actually be constructive while strictly principled behavior can be destructive. Hypocrisy and Integrity offers a new conceptual framework that clarifies the differences between idealism and fanaticism while it uncovers the moral limits of compromise. "Exciting and provocative. . . . Grant's work is to be highly recommended, offering a fresh reading of Rousseau and Machiavelli as well as presenting a penetrating analysis of hypocrisy and (...) integrity."--Ronald J. Terchek, American Political Science Review "A great refreshment. . . . With liberalism's best interests at heart, Grant seeks to make available a better understanding of the limits of reason in politics."--Peter Berkowitz, New Republic. (shrink)
The author suggests that a synchronic reading of Bonhoeffer's major works yields a typology of the two main images around which Bonhoeffer's politicalethics orbit: disciple and citizen. Concentrating on the latter, the author shows the centrality of the question of power for Bonhoeffer's politicalethics, and how it relates to responsibility and vocation. He argues that Bonhoeffer's ethics follows a christological grammar which constitutes its specific realism and provides its focus on institutions and good (...) works. The essay concludes that the call to citizenship, the vocation of co-operative, representative and vicarious action, forms the central idea of Bonhoeffer's politicalethics, which is still highly relevant for politicalethics today. (shrink)
I argue that political activity needs philosophical insights in order to keep pace with some exigencies of the human person, and of the nature of the body of any human community. More specifically, I argue that some ethical and moral principles should be the genuine foundations of the performed acts emanating from the political leader. Drawing mainly from philosophy, I argue that the issue of political leadership is an expressive example in which we encounter the necessity of (...) bringing ethics into the sphere of politics, in order to provide the latter with strong, unshakable, and objective foundations. This also gives me an opportunity to rise against Machiavellianism and its correlates. (shrink)
Jean-François Lyotard. First acquaintance with Lyotard -- Kant's notion of the sublime and its appropriation by Lyotard -- Transposing Kant to the key of the postmodern -- The role of feelings in Lyotard's political judgment -- Universality revisited -- Jacques Derrida. The Nietzschean influence -- Derrida and phenomenology -- Derrida's exploration of exteriority and anteriority -- Derrida's politicalethics : foundations -- Derrida's politicalethics : further elaborations : the international scene.
The paper presents an overview of political and professional committees in the Federal Republic of Germany dealing with issues of biomedical ethics. The prevailing tendencies of paternalistic atittudes, the worst-casescenario argumentation method, and the unfortunate practice of applying general principles rather than mid-level principles in the assessment of concrete challenges in treatment and regulation are analyzed. Keywords: conflict, control, consent, commission design, paternalism, politicalethics, regulation, self-regulation CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
An analysis is presented of the relationships between consumers ethical beliefs, ethical ideology, Machiavellianism, political preference and the individual difference variable "need for closure". It is based on a representative survey of 286 Belgian respondents. Standard measurement tools of proven reliability and robustness are used to measure ethical beliefs (consumer ethics scale), ethical ideology (ethical positioning), Machiavellianism (Mach IV scale) and need for closure. The analysis finds the following. First, individuals with a high need for closure tend to (...) have beliefs that are more ethical as regards possible consumer actions, and score higher on idealism and lower on Machiavellianism, than those with a low need for closure. Second, a correlation exists between political preference and ethical beliefs. Third, a significant relationship exists between ethical ideology and political preference for the two largest political parties. Fourth, individuals with a high and low need for closure have different political preferences for right-wing and left-wing parties. (shrink)
A standard view in ethics is that ethical issues concern a different range of human concerns than does politics. This essay goes beyond the long-standing dispute about the extent to which applied ethics needs a commitment to ethical theory. It argues that regardless of the outcome of that dispute, applied ethics, because it presumes something about the nature of authority, rests upon and is implicated in political theory. After internalist and externalist accounts of applied ethics (...) are described, “mixed” approaches are considered that contain inevitable political dimensions. A feminist alternative, Walker’s metaethic of responsibility, shows that authority is best understood as relational and that situations of unequal power are therefore often the places where applied ethics arises. Furthermore, in a democratic society, commitments to democracy should shape the account of authority, and, thus, the nature of applied ethics as well. (shrink)
Virginia Held assesses the ethics of care as a promising alternative to the familiar moral theories that serve so inadequately to guide our lives. The ethics of care is only a few decades old, yet it is by now a distinct moral theory or normative approach to the problems we face. It is relevant to global and political matters as well as to the personal relations that can most clearly exemplify care. This book clarifies just what the (...)ethics of care is: what its characteristics are, what it holds, and what it enables us to do. It discusses the feminist roots of this moral approach and why the ethics of care can be a morality with universal appeal. Held examines what we mean by "care," and what a caring person is like. Where other moral theories demand impartiality above all, the ethics of care understands the moral import of our ties to our families and groups. It evaluates such ties, focusing on caring relations rather than simply on the virtues of individuals. The book proposes how such values as justice, equality, and individual rights can "fit together" with such values as care, trust, mutual consideration, and solidarity. In the second part of the book, Held examines the potential of the ethics of care for dealing with social issues. She shows how the ethics of care is more promising than Kantian moral theory and utilitarianism for advice on how expansive, or not, markets should be, and on when other values than market ones should prevail. She connects the ethics of care with the rising interest in civil society, and considers the limits appropriate for the language of rights. Finally, she shows the promise of the ethics of care for dealing with global problems and seeing anew the outlines of international civility. (shrink)
My concern in this paper is how to reconcile a central tension in Hannah Arendt’s thinking, one that – if left unresolved – may make us reluctant to endorse her political theory. Arendt was profoundly and painfully aware of the horrors of political evil; in fact, she is almost unparalleled in 20 th century thought in her concern for the consequences of mass political violence, the victims of political atrocities, and the most vulnerable in political (...) society – the stateless, the pariahs, the outcasts. At least, this is the case in her discussions of concrete, historical political situations. Yet in her philosophical writings, she continues to argue that the political realm ultimately redeems human existence, and furthermore, that politics should remain distinct and autonomous from moral evaluation. Political action must be evaluated according to “greatness,” not goodness or any other explicitly moral or even ethical standard. She goes so far as to suggest that politics and morality may be deeply hostile to one another, and can only be reconciled in situations of extreme emergency. This can leave many feeling both perplexed and deeply uncomfortable with the theory of human action that Arendt proposes. Drawing on her notions of political conscience, judgment and - in particular - her account of forgiveness, in this paper I argue that Arendt offers an ethics of plurality, in which what is good is developed from what is most politically important: amor mundi, or love of our shared political world. (shrink)
The value foundation for a global society -- Ethics and international business -- Human rights concepts and principles -- Political involvements by business -- The foreign production process -- Product and export controls -- Marketing motives and methods -- Culture and the human environment -- Nature and the physical environment -- Business guidance and control mechanisms -- Deciding ethical dilemmas.
This article examines two recent alternatives to the traditional conception of human rights as natural rights: the account of human rights found in discourse ethics and the ‘political conception’ of human rights influenced by the work of Rawls. I argue that both accounts have distinct merits and that they are not as opposed to one another as is sometimes supposed. At the same time, the discourse ethics account must confront a deep ambiguity in its own approach: are (...) rights derived in a strong sense from the conditions of ‘communicative freedom’ or are they developed from the participants’ own reflection upon their ongoing and continuously changing practices and institutions? The political conception recently proposed by Joshua Cohen can, I argue, contribute to the resolution of this ambiguity, though not without some modifications of its own. Keywords: human rights; discourse ethics; The ‘political conception’ of rights; Seyla Benhabib; John Rawls; Rainer Forst; Michael Ignatieff; Thomas Pogge; Joshua Cohen (Published: 10 March 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i1.1938. (shrink)
In The Political Animal Stephen Clark investigates the political nature of the human animal. Based on biological science and traditional ethics, he probes into areas of inquiry that are usually ignored by traditional political theory. He suggests that properly informed political philosophy must take the role of women and children more seriously, and must be prepared to face up to the ethnocentric and domineering tendencies of the human animal.
This book offers an analysis of the ways a linked set of ethico-political concepts - responsibility, rights, freedom, equality, and justice - might be re-thought, in view of the linguistic deconstruction of their underlying principle, the individual human subject. In a series of readings of contemporary thinkers and their philosophical antecedents the author argues that an encounter with the difficulties of reading language, precisely what resists the immediate comprehension or mastery of a subject, enables in turn a new thought (...) of rights and responsibility. The book is driven by a sense that literary and theoretical questions, and the ideas or concepts they appeal to or provoke, play a critical role in the way we think about and experience politics. The author seeks to harness this specialized discourse in order to consider what ethical and political thinking might learn from literature and its theorists. (shrink)
Wonder and generosity -- Love and respect -- Responding to difference and similarity -- The relation between ethics and politics -- Cosmopolitanism, hospitality and refugees -- Wonder, radical evil and forgiveness -- Apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
In this paper I will briefly discuss the role and function of the ethical advisory committees and other ethics bodies that are supposed to take care of the ethical dimension of the biotechnology strategies. The expert ethical advice has created colourful discussion in many contexts, but here I aim to analyze the role and relevance of ethical expertise in the context of national and regional biotechnology strategies. I will argue that it may be quite unproblematic that the work of (...) the ethics committees and other governmental and semi-governmental ethics bodies concerns only a relatively narrow range of issues and do not directly concern all the important social and economic realignments that accompany biotechnology. Many important decisions concerning national and regional biotechnology strategies are political, and typically ethics committees can be only indirectly useful in political decision-making. The committees should be free to refrain from extending their work to the areas where they are not already involved. However, the ethics committees and other ethics bodies can promote public debate that forms the basis for political decision-making. (shrink)
In the past twenty years Joseph Raz has consolidated his reputation as one of the most acute, inventive, and energetic scholars currently at work in analytic moral and political theory. This new collection of essays forms a representative selection of his most significant contributions to a number of important debates, including the extent of political duty and obligation, and the issue of self-determination. He also examines aspects of the common (and ancient) theme of the relations between law and (...) morality. This volume of essays, available in one volume for the first time, will be essential to legal philosophers and political theorists. (shrink)
A detailed examination of post-Marxist political theory, focusing especially on the work of Laclau, Habermas, and Derrida. Devenney identifies common concerns between these theorists and demostrates how the respective strenghts of each compliment the weaknesses of the other.
This paper argues that Rawls’ principles of justice provide a normative foundation for stakeholder theory. The principles articulate (at an abstract level) citizens’ rights; these rights create interests across all aspects of society, including in the space of economic activity; and therefore, stakeholders – as citizens – have legitimate interests in the space of economic activity. This approach to stakeholder theory suggests a political interpretation of Boatright’s Moral Market approach, one that emphasizes the rights/place of citizens. And this approach (...) to stakeholder theory – in terms of citizens – raises a further question, what rights and obligations do economic agents have, beyond those attached to their roles as citizens? Rawls would reject additional rights and obligations of this sort for two reasons, one tied to freedom and one tied to pluralism. Rawls’ work therefore presses us to re-conceptualize the place of ethical claims in the economic context. (shrink)
Hannah Arendt is recognized as one of the most important political theorists of the 20th century. This paper, however, suggests that she is as much a thinker as a theorist. Against the professionalized discourse of political theory that offers theories of democracy, citizenship, and liberalism, Arendt insists that political thinking is of more importance that political theory. The force of Arendt's political insight is that we court danger when we take thinking for granted. Against the (...) worship of reason and rationalized calculation that dominates political discourse, Arendt holds up an idea of thinking that sets up obstacles to hasty and thoughtless action. The paper develops Arendt's particular articulation of what it calls Arendt's activity of thinking. (shrink)
The aim of this study is to contribute to a conceptualization of organizational politics that underscores the possibility of developing positive political behavior at the workplace. In this respect, we seek to provide a context of re-evaluating the normative foundations of organizational politics. Normative issues are critically discussed in the context of mainstream ethical theories that illuminate the interaction of ethics and political behavior. More specifically, it is argued that a deontological framework is of particular importance for (...) the proper management of negative political behavior, whereas a virtue-ethics context can be employed so as to foster positive political behavior at the workplace. Finally, the implications of this approach for organizational life and HRM processes and practices are taken into consideration. (shrink)
In response to recent scholarship on the need for universal professional values, a call that has intensified in the post-9/11 world, this article reports how journalists in Asia and the Middle East conceptualize universal professional values and the possible impact of a universal ethics code. In general, the journalists interviewed for this study were suspicious of a Western-imposed set of values or a code. However, they agreed on a core set of values, ones that de-emphasized truth telling in relation (...) to respect and the need to maintain a community. They also emphasized that different political systems make the implementation of a universal code problematic. However, there was great agreement on the need for such discussion within the profession and on the commonalities such discussion reveals. (shrink)
The issue of whether religious belief should be an appropriate grounding for business ethics raises issues very similar to those raised in asking whether religious belief should be an appropriate grounding for political morality. In light of that fact that writings in political morality have been a common resource for contemporary business ethics, this paper presents contemporary arguments about the role of religion in political morality while noting the relevance of these debates for business (...) class='Hi'>ethics.The paper takes the position that rather than excluding religion from public morality, political morality (and business ethics) ought to take an inclusive, ecumenical approach. To argue this position and to present fully a range of literature normally not studied in business ethics circles, the paper presents and critiques the major contemporary authors in the field of political morality and contrasts them with the inclusionists who seek to keep public grounds open for all moral perspectives. (shrink)
There is considerable overlap between the interests of business ethicists and those of political philosophers. Questions about the moral justifiability of the capitalist system, the basis of property rights, and the problem of inequality in the distribution of income have been of central importance in both fields. However, political philosophers have developed, especially over the past four decades, a set of tools and concepts for addressing these questions that are in many ways quite distinctive. Most business ethicists, on (...) the other hand, consider their field to be primarily a domain of applied ethics, and so adopt methods and conceptual frameworks developed by moral philosophers. In this paper, we discuss some of the salient differences between these two approaches, and suggest some ways in which business ethicists could benefit from taking a more “political philosophy” approach to these questions. Throughout, we underline the importance of seeking greater compatibility among the principles used in normative theorizing about markets, regulations, corporate governance, and business practices. (shrink)
l examine three approaches to environmental ethics and illustrate them with examples from California. An egocentric ethic is grounded in the self and based on the assumption that what is good for the individual is good for society. Historically associated with laissez faire capitalism and a religious ethic of human dominion over nature, this approach is exemplified by the extraction of natural resources from the commons by private interests. A homocentric ethic is grounded in society and is based on (...) the assumption that policies should reflect the greatest good for the greatest number of people and that, as stewards of the natural world, humans should conserve and protect nature for human benefit. Historically associated with govemment regulation of the private sector, a homocentric approach can be illustrated by federal, state, and local environmental agencies charged with protecting the welfare of the general public. An ecocentric ethic is grounded in the cosmos, or whole environment, and isbased on the assignment of intrinsic value to nonhuman nature. Exemplified by ecologically based sciences and process-oriented philosophies, an ecocentric approach often underlies the political positions of environmentalists. This threefold taxonomy may be useful in identifying underlying ethical assumptions in cases where ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest develop among entrepreneurs, govemment agencies, and environmentalists. (shrink)
The central problems of political philosophy (e.g., legitimate authority, distributive justice) mirror the central problems of businessethics. The question naturally arises: should political theories be applied to problems in business ethics? If a version of egalitarianism is the correct theory of justice for states, for example, does it follow that it is the correct theory of justice for businesses? If states should be democratically governed by their citizens, should businesses be democratically managed by their employees? Most theorists (...) who have considered these questions, including John Rawls in Political Liberalism, and Robert Phillips and Joshua Margolis in a 1999 article, have said “no.” They claim that states and businesses are different kinds of entities, and hence require different theories of justice. I challenge this claim. While businesses differ from states, the difference is one of degree, not one of kind. Business ethicshas much to learn from political philosophy. (shrink)