David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature is famous for its extreme skepticism. Louis Loeb argues that Hume's destructive conclusions have in fact obscured a constructive stage that Hume abandons prematurely. Working within a philosophical tradition that values tranquillity, Hume favors an epistemology that links justification with settled belief. Hume appeals to psychological stability to support his own epistemological assessments, both favorable regarding causal inference, and unfavorable regarding imaginative propensities. The theory's success in explaining Hume's epistemic distinctions gives way (...) to pessimism, since Hume contends that reflection on beliefs is deeply destabilizing. So much the worse, Hume concludes, for placing a premium on reflection. Hume endorses and defends the position that stable beliefs of unreflective persons are justified, though they would not survive reflection. At the same time, Hume relishes the paradox that unreflective beliefs enjoy a preferred epistemic status and strains to establish it. Loeb introduces a series of amendments to the Treatise that secures a more positive result for justified belief while maintaining Hume's fundamental principles. In his review of Hume's applications of his epistemology, Loeb uncovers a stratum of psychological doctrine beyond associationism, a theory of conditions in which beliefs are felt to conflict and of the resolution of this uneasiness or dissonance. This theory of mental conflict is also essential to Hume's strategy for integrating empiricism about meaning with his naturalism. However, Hume fails to provide a general account of the conditions in which conflicting beliefs lead to persisting instability, so his theory is incomplete. Loeb explores Hume's concern with stability in reference to his discussions of belief, education, the probability of causes, unphilosophical probability, the belief in body, sympathy and moral judgment, and the passions, among other topics. (shrink)
It is often said that our moral experience, broadly construed to include our ways of thinking and talking about morality, has a certain objective-seeming character to it, and that this supports a presumption in favor of objectivist theories (according to which morality is a realm of facts or truths) and against anti-objectivist theories like Mackie’s error theory (according to which it is not). In this paper, I argue that our experience of morality does not support objectivist moral theories in this (...) way. I begin by arguing that our moral experience does not have the uniformly objective-seeming character it is typically claimed to have. I go on to argue that even if moral experience were to presuppose or display morality as a realm of fact, we would still need a reason for taking that to support theories according to which it is such a realm. I consider what I take to be the four most promising ways of attempting to supply such a reason: (A) inference to the best explanation, (B) epistemic conservatism, (C) the Principle of Credulity, and (D) the method of wide reflective equilibrium. In each case, I argue, the strategy in question does not support a presumption in favor of objectivist moral theories. (shrink)
Since the mid-1970s, scholars have recognized that the skeptical interpretation of Hume’s central argument about induction is problematic. The science of human nature presupposes that inductive inference is justified and there are endorsements of induction throughout Treatise Book I. The recent suggestion that I.iii.6 is confined to the psychology of inductive inference cannot account for the epistemic flavor of its claims that neither a genuine demonstration nor a non-question-begging inductive argument can establish the uniformity principle. For Hume, that inductive inference (...) is justified is part of the data to be explained. Bad argument is therefore excluded as the cause of inductive inference; and there is no good argument to cause it. Does this reinstate the problem of induction, undermining Hume’s own assumption that induction is justified? It does so only if justification must derive from “reason”, from the availability of a cogent argument. Hume rejects this internalist thesis; induction’s favorable epistemic status derives from features of custom, the mechanism that generates inductive beliefs. Hume is attracted to this externalist posture because it provides a direct explanation of the epistemic achievements of children and non-human animals—creatures that must rely on custom unsupplemented by argument. (shrink)
Gilbert Harman and Judith Thomson have argued that moral facts cannot explain our moral beliefs, claiming that such facts could not play a causal role in the formation of those beliefs. This paper shows these arguments to be misguided, for they would require that we abandon any number of intuitively plausible explanations in non-moral contexts as well. But abandoning the causal strand in the argument over moral explanations does not spell immediate victory for the moral realist, since it must still (...) be shown that moral facts do figure in our best global explanatory theory. (shrink)
This article explores five important issues relating to the evaluation of ethics education in accounting. The issues that are considered include: (a) reasons for evaluating accounting ethics education (see Caplan, 1980, pp. 133–35); (b) goal setting as a prerequisite to evaluating the outcomes of accounting ethics education (see Caplan, 1980, pp. 135–37); (c) possible broad levels of outcomes of accounting ethics education that can be evaluated; (d) matters relating to accounting ethics education that are in need of evaluation (see Caplan, (...) 1980, p. 136); and (e) possible techniques for measuring outcomes of accounting ethics education (see Caplan, 1980, pp. 144–49). The paper concludes with a discussion of the issues under consideration. (shrink)
In this article we review the principal directions that an American Accounting Association committee has taken in the past three years to encourage the teaching of ethics in accounting programs and/or courses in higher education. We also (1) briefly comment on the place of accounting ethics in both higher education and continuing professional education and (2) provide some brief final comments.
In this paper, we consider the licensing of and codes of ethics that affect the accountant not in public accounting, the potential for an accountant not in public accounting encountering an ethical conflict situation, and the moral responsibility of such accountant when faced with an ethical dilemma. We review an approach suggested by the National Association of Accountants for dealing with an ethical conflict situation including that association's position on whistleblowing. We propose another approach based on the work of De (...) George (1981), in which both internal and external whistleblowing are possible alternatives, for use by management accountants in an ethical conflict situation. Finally, we consider the implications of our analysis for management accounting. While most of the analysis centers on management accountants, we note the likely applicability of the analysis to accountants in the public sector. (shrink)
Demands for generality sometimes exert a powerful influence on our thinking, pressing us to treat more general moral positions, such as consequentialism, as superior to more specific ones, like those which incorporate agent-centered restrictions or prerogatives. I articulate both foundationalist and coherentist versions of the demands for generality and argue that we can best understand these demands in terms of a certain underlying metaphysical commitment. I consider and reject various arguments which might be offered in support of this commitment, and (...) argue that generality may not be the weapon in moral argument that it is sometimes thought to be. (shrink)
This paper expands the literature on accounting ethics education by considering the teaching of ethics in accounting doctoral education. Some of the ethical issues that might be addressed in accounting doctoral education are reviewed. A number of matters relating to teaching ethics to accounting doctoral students are considered. The paper concludes with a summary and some final remarks.
The eternal recurrence of the same. Simmel's critique ; Awareness ; Evidence ; Significance ; Coherence -- Demon or god? Deathbed revelation ; Daimonic prophecy ; Dionysian doctrine ; Diagnostic test -- The dwarf and the gateway. The gateway to Hades ; The dwarf's interpretation ; Zarathustra's cross-examination ; The inescapable cycle ; Crossing the gateway ; No time until rebirth ; The ancient memory ; Midnight swan song -- The great noon. Two conclusions ; Tragic end and analeptic satyr (...) play ; Zarathustra's hour ; Noon crucifixion ; Seventh-day convalescence ; Last temptation ; Third-day resurrection -- The laughing lions. Revaluation of values ; Dawn reunion ; Morning consecration ; Call to arms ; Final farewell and last will ; Zarathustra's great destiny -- The shepherd and the serpent. The eternally recurring human ; The future human ; Zarathustra the dragon-slayer ; The decapitation ; The heavy hammer ; No longer shepherd -- Circulus vitiosus deus. Impotence and revenge ; Backward-willing ; Self-redemption ; The third transformation ; The child spirit ; No longer human ; Zarathustra's dying gift -- Post-Zarathustra. Nietzsche and Zarathustra ; Reversing the bad conscience ; Atheism and the death of God ; Countering the ascetic ideal. (shrink)
Context: It is often suggested that the methodology of the programme of Constructive Reverse Mathematics (CRM) can be sufficiently clarified by a thorough understanding of Brouwer’s intuitionism, Bishop’s constructive mathematics, and classical Reverse Mathematics. In this paper, the correctness of this suggestion is questioned. Method: We consider the notion of a mathematical programme in order to compare these schools of mathematics in respect of their methodologies. Results: Brouwer’s intuitionism, Bishop’s constructive mathematics, and classical Reverse Mathematics are historical influences upon the (...) origin and development of CRM, but do not give a full “methodological explanation” for it. Implications: Discussion on the methodological issues concerning CRM is needed. Constructivist content: It is shown that the characterisation and comparison of varieties of constructive mathematics should include methodological aspects (as understood from their practices). (shrink)
In 1967, Alvin Goldman proposed that 'X' knows that 'p' only if the fact that 'p' is causally connected with X's belief that 'p'. Brian Skyrms' alleged counterexample, the case of the fiend who beheads a person already deceased, has been widely accepted (by Robert Ackermann, Gilbert Harman, and Marshall Swain) as such. But it is not a counterexample. To see this, we must attend to two distinctions: between a death and being dead, and between causation and causal overdetermination. The (...) most visible objection to Goldman's analysis is then dissolved. a modified version of Skyrms' case fares no better. (shrink)
G. Schiemer has recently ascribed to Carnap the so-called domains-as-fields conception of models, which he subsequently used to defend Carnap’s treatment of extremal axioms against J. Hintikka’s criticism that the number of tuples in a relation, and not the domain of discourse, is optimised in Carnap’s treatment. We will argue by a careful textual analysis, however, that this domains-as-fields conception cannot be applied to Carnap’s early semantics, because it includes a notion of submodel and subrelation that is not only absent (...) from Carnap’s work at that time, but even contradicts it. As a consequence, Schiemer’s defense of Carnap’s extremal axioms against Hintikka’s criticism fails. We will reconcile Carnap’s treatment of extremal axioms and Hintikka’s observation by taking into account the practice of axiomatics in the early twentieth century. If one realises that, in Carnap’s time, a predicate for the domain of discourse was often introduced in the formal theory, and that Carnap defined such predicates from the basic relations of an axiom system, the apparent disagreement between optimising relations and optimising domains disappears. (shrink)