Throughout history, many people, including Mother Teresa, have been troubled by God’s silence. In spite of the conflicting interpretations of the Bible, God has remained silent. What are the implications of divine silence for a meaning of life? Is there a good reason that explains God’s silence? If God created humanity to fulfill a purpose, then God would have clarified his purpose and our role by now, as I will argue. To help God carry out his purpose, (...) we would need to have a clear understanding of our role. Thus, by failing to clarify our role, God would be undermining himself in achieving the purpose he conceived, which would not make sense. Because God, if he exists, would not engage in this self-defeating behavior, this suggests that humanity was not created by God to fulfill a purpose. (shrink)
Tradition has it that, although we experience darkness, we can neither hear nor hallucinate silence. At most, we hear that it is silent, in virtue of lacking auditory experience. This cognitive view is at odds with our ordinary thought and talk. Yet it is not easy to vouchsafe the perception of silence: Sorensen‘s recent account entails the implausible claim that the permanently and profoundly deaf are perpetually hallucinating silence. To better defend the view that we can genuinely (...) hear and hallucinate silence, we must reject the austere picture of conscious experience which underpins the cognitive theory. According to that picture, conscious experience is a simple relation between subjects and objects. In the absence of an object, there is no relation, and so no experience. By enriching this picture, room can be found for the experience of silence. I explore this idea in two phases. First, I defend the thought that we can hear and hallucinate certain forms of silence, such as pauses, in virtue of experiencing contrastive sounds. Second, I draw on Moore‘s analysis of sensation to suggest that simply experiencing silence is a special form of objectless consciousness. I offer two ways of fleshing out this idea. According to the first, auditory experience possesses a temporal field within which the absence of sounds can be perceived. According to the second, purely Moorean account, it is our capacity to listen in the absence of sounds that underlies the phenomenon of experiencing silence. (shrink)
This article argues that attempting to overcome moral silence in organizations will require management to move beyond a compliance-oriented organizational culture toward a culture based on integrity. Such cultural change is part of good corporate governance that aims to steer an organization to enhance creativity and moral excellence, and thus organizational value. Governance mechanisms can be either formal or informal. Formal codes and other internal formal regulations that emphasize compliance are necessary, although informal mechanisms that are based on relationship-building (...) are more likely to achieve moral excellence. Such a shift can be viewed as a transformative strategy for overcoming the destructive side effects and business risks of the tendency within corporate cultures to remain mute when faced with issues that violate personal or corporate values. Genuine dialogues and appropriate ethical decisionmaking training can deepen the understanding and create a mindful awareness (of ethical values) and induce trust that embrace both complying with rules and regulations, as well as inciting creative "ethical innovation" with respect to human interaction in multinational companies. (shrink)
The surprising comment Wittgenstein makes at the end of his Tractatus suggests that, even though the analysis of words is the proper method of doing philosophy, philosophy’s ultimate aim may be to experience silence. Whereas Wittgenstein never explains what he meant by his cryptic conclusion, Kant provides numerous clues as to how the same position can be understood in a more complete and systematic way. Distinguishing between the meanings of “silence,” “noise” and “sound” provides a helpful way of (...) understanding how philosophers can devote so much effort to analyzing words even though their quest is ultimately fulfilled only in a deep experience of reality that is most adequately expressed in silence. (shrink)
This article reports the findings from a study that investigates the relationship between ethical climates and police whistle-blowing on five forms of misconduct in the State of Georgia. The results indicate that a friendship or team climate generally explains willingness to blow the whistle, but not the actual frequency of blowing the whistle. Instead, supervisory status, a control variable investigated in previous studies, is the most consistent predictor of both willingness to blow the whistle and frequency of blowing the whistle. (...) Contrary to popular belief, the results also generally indicate that police are more inclined than civilian employees to blow the whistle in Georgia - in other words, they are less inclined to maintain a code of silence. (shrink)
Jizang (549−623 CE), the key philosophical exponent of the Sanlun tradition of Chinese Buddhism, based his philosophy considerably on his reading of the works of Nāgārjuna (c.150−250 CE), the founder of the Indian Madhyamaka school. However, although Jizang sought to follow Nāgārjuna closely, there are salient features in his thought on language that are notably absent from Nāgārjuna’s works. In this paper, I present a philosophical analysis of Jizang’s views of the relationship between speech and silence and compare them (...) with those of Nāgārjuna. I first elaborate on Nāgārjuna’s doctrine of twofold truth and discuss his thought concerning the relationship between language and ineffable quiescence. I then examine Jizang’s interpretation of the doctrine. Thereafter, I distinguish silence qua teaching from silence qua principle and examine Jizang’s views on the relationship between speech and these two kinds of silence. It is shown that while Nāgārjuna leans toward affirming a clear-cut distinction between speech and the ineffable quiescence, Jizang endorses the nonduality of conventional speech and sacred silence. (shrink)
Silence in organizations refers to a state in which employees refrain from calling attention to issues at work such as illegal or immoral practices or developments that violate personal, moral, or legal standards. While Morrison and Milliken (Acad Manag Rev 25:706–725, 2000) discussed how organizational silence as a top-down organizational level phenomenon can cause employees to remain silent, a bottom-up perspective—that is, how employee motives contribute to the occurrence and maintenance of silence in organizations—has not yet been (...) given much research attention. In this paper, we argue that this perspective is a meaningful complementation of the existing literature and that it is sensible to conceptualize distinct forms of employee silence (Pinder and Harlos, Research in personnel and human resources management. JAI Press, Greenwich, 2001; van Dyne et al., J Manag Stud 40:1359–1392, 2003). Drawing on past research and theory we conceptualize four forms of employee silence, namely quiescent, acquiescent, prosocial, and opportunistic silence. We present scales to assess the four forms and provide empirical tests for their distinctiveness and patterns of relationships to various correlates and potential antecedents and consequences. (shrink)
Strikingly, theorizing about digital technologies has led us to recognize many habitual subjects of research as figures against fields that are also worthy of study. Communication, for example, becomes visible only against the field of silence. Silence is critically important for the construction of reality – and the social construction of reality has a complement, the also necessary contemplative construction of reality. Silence is so sensitive and fragile that an inability to achieve it, or to get rid (...) of it, or to correct the wrong kind of silence often provides early indicators of individual, group, communal, and society-wide stresses from information technologies. Indeed, we might treat difficulties with silence as miners treated canaries in coal mines, as early warning signals. The story has already been told that nightingales in London now have to sing so loudly in order to be heard above the ambient noise that the birds are in danger of breaking the noise ordinance law. Surely something has gone awry if nightingales break the law when they sing. Finding ways to protect silence as an arena of personal and social choice is a particularly poignant, evocative, and instructive ethical and policy horizon at this frontier moment for the human species. This article introduces the theory of the contemplative construction of reality, explores what the study of silence tells us about reality construction processes, and outlines a research agenda. (shrink)
I offer a new cartography of ethical resistance. I argue that there is an uncharted interaction between managerial secrecy and organizational silence, which may exponentially increase the incidence of corruption in ways not yet understood. Current methods used to raise levels of moral conduct in business and government practice appear blind to this powerful duo. Extensive literature reviews of secrecy and silence scholarships form the background for an early stage conceptual layout of the co-production of secrecy and (...) class='Hi'>silence. (shrink)
In this essay I propose an interpretative and explanatory structure for the so-called argumentum ex silento, or argument from silence (henceforth referred to as the AFS). To this end, I explore two examples, namely, Sherlock Holmes’s oft-quoted notice of the “curious incident of the dog in the night-time” from Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “Silver Blaze,” and the historical question of Paul of Tarsus’s silence on biographical details of the historical Jesus. Through these cases, I conclude that the (...) AFS serves as a dialogical topos best evaluated and understood through the perceived authority of the arguer and the willingness of the audience to accept that authority, due to the “curious” nature of the negative evidence that the argument employed. (shrink)
Silence resides in the gaps between the known islands of explicit knowledge. Rather than expecting to build systems with complete information, we take a human-centred approach. Individual citizens need to be active, engage in dialogue and be aware of the importance of tacit knowledge. As societies, we recognise the incompleteness and inconsistency of our discourse.
The argument from silence is a pattern of reasoning in which the failure of a known source to mention a particular fact or event is used as the ground of an inference, usually to the conclusion that the supposed fact is untrue or the supposed event did not actually happen. Such arguments are widely used in historical work, but they are also widely contested. This paper surveys some inadequate attempts to model this sort of argument, offers a new analysis (...) using a Bayesian probabilistic framework that isolates the most problematic step in such arguments, illustrates a key problem besetting many uses of the argument, diagnoses the attraction of the argument in terms of a known human cognitive bias affecting the critical step, and suggests a standard that must be met in order for any argument from silence to have more than a very weak influence on historical reasoning. (shrink)
Despite burgeoning interest in employee silence, there are still significant gaps in our understanding of (a) the antecedents of employee silence in organizations and (b) the implications of engaging in silence for employees. Using two experimental studies (Study 1a, N = 91; Study 1b, N = 152) and a field survey of full-time working adults (Study 2, N = 308), we examined overall justice as an antecedent of acquiescent (i.e., silence motivated by futility) and quiescent (...) class='Hi'>silence (i.e., silence motivated by fear of sanctions). Across the studies, results indicated that overall justice is a significant predictor of both types of silence in organizations. Furthermore, Study 2 indicated that the implications of silence extend beyond the restriction of information flow in organizations to include employee outcomes. Specifically, acquiescent silence partially or fully mediated the relationship between overall justice perceptions and emotional exhaustion, psychological withdrawal, physical withdrawal, and performance. Quiescent silence partially mediated these relationships, with the exception of performance. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings for both the justice and silence literatures are discussed. (shrink)
First book: Just plain evil -- You cannot meaningfully talk this way : violence is a virtue-so you cannot justifiably act that way -- Second book: Ordinary silence -- Affirming the limits of our words : listening attentively makes a life worth living -- Supplements to first and second books -- The difficulty is to stop.
The paper looks at the establishment of religion clause in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and cases, e.g. Brown v. Gilmore, followed by Croft v. Perry and Sherman v. Koch, cases that relate to the concept of the “moment of silence” in educational institutions in which it was claimed that such events constitute a breach of the establishment clause. Courts have been inconsistent in their decision-making, which may indicate a lack of transparency not only in the interpretation (...) of the relevant phrase in the Constitution but also in the judicial interpretation of the “three-pronged test” with regard to “excessive entanglement” as laid out in Lemon v. Kurtzman of 1971. The paper discusses the “moment of silence” within the framework of a model of silence in which this type of silence would be labeled as either textual or situational silence. (shrink)
Residual categories are those which cannot be formally represented within a given classification system. We examine the forms that residuality takes within our information systems today, and explore some silences which form around those inhabiting particular residual categories. We argue that there is significant ethical and political work to be done in exploring residuality.
Silence can sometimes be eloquent. Conversations consist not only in what is said but what is not said—the cold silence, the disapproving silence, the appreciative silence, the reverent silence, the baffled silence. Of particular interest is the approving silence, or the consenting silence, and this will be my topic here.
The central problem in the interpretation of the quantum theory is how to understand the superposition of the eigenstates of an observable. To a considerable extent scientific practice here, especially as codified in versions of Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation, follows an interpretive principle that I have elsewhere called the Rule of Silence (Ref.1). That rule admonishes us not to talk about the values of an observable unless the state of the system is an eigenstate, or a mixture of eigenstates, of (...) the observable in question. With regard to the rule of silence, as in other matters bearing on the interpretation of the quantum theory, Einstein was one of the first to realize that there can be difficulties. They appear as soon as we look at something like an explosion; i.e., the interaction between a micro and a macrosystem that involves the amplification of a microphenomenon to macroscopic scale (Ref.2). John Bell describes the difficulty over the rule of silence this way. (shrink)
This paper examines two puzzles of indeterminacy. The first puzzle concerns the hypothesis that there is a unified phenomenon of indeterminacy. How are we to reconcile this with the apparent diversity of reactions that indeterminacy prompts? The second puzzle focuses narrowly on borderline cases of vague predicates. How are we to account for the lack of theoretical consensus about what the proper reaction to borderline cases is? I suggest (building on work by Maudlin) that the characteristic feature of indeterminacy is (...) alethic normative silence, and use this to explain both plurality and lack of consensus. (shrink)
Ethnomethodologists (or at least many of them) have been reticent about their theoretical sources and methodological principles. It frequently falls to others to make such matters explicit. In this paper I discuss this silence about theory, but rather than entering the breach by specifying a set of implicit assumptions and principles, I suggest that the reticence is consistent with ethnomethodology's distinctive research 'program'. The main part of the paper describes the pedagogical exercises and forms of apprenticeship through which Garfinkel (...) and Sacks aimed to develop ethnomethodology as a practice. These efforts were not entirely successful, partly because ethnomethodological 'practice' required an engagement with other fully-fledged practices. Aside from the difficulties of mastering such practices, it was unclear what an ethnomethodological study would add to, or take from, them. Whether successful or not, ethnomethodological research points to the specificity of discourse and action in any given practice which a general theory is bound to misconstrue. Current disputes about cultural constructivist versions of natural science illustrate the problems that arise when the terms of a general theory are used to describe and evaluate specific domains of practice. The paper concludes by recommending ethnomethodology as a way to dissolve an unbridgeable gap between cultural theories and socially located practices. (shrink)
To clarify the sense of the complex positive phenomenon of silence, i engage in an intentional analysis of its occurrences. in making this analysis i use a method derived basically from husserl. through this method i establish that silence is 1) an active intentional performance necessary for the clarification of the sense of intersubjectivity, 2) an intentional performance which does not intend fully determinate objects, 3) that which interrupts the "and so forth" of a stream of performances which (...) does intend determinate objects of some sort, and 4) is a source of tension and oscillation among levels of expression and between the realms of expressive and non-expressive experience. (shrink)
The naïve view of temporal experience (Phillips, in: Lloyd D, Arstila V (eds) Subjective time: the philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of temporality, forthcoming-a) comprises two claims. First, that we are perceptually aware of temporal properties, such as succession and change. Second, that for any temporal property apparently presented in experience, our experience itself possesses that temporal property. In his paper ‘Silencing the experience of change’ (forthcoming), Watzl argues that this second naïve inheritance thesis faces a novel counter-example in the form (...) of the striking motion silencing effects recently demonstrated by Suchow and Alvarez (Curr Biol 21(2):140–143, 2011). Here I clarify the form which any counter-example to naïve inheritance must take. I then explain how, on a plausible, rival ‘crowding’ interpretation of Suchow and Alvarez’s data, motion silencing poses no more of a threat to naïve inheritance than standard cases of change blindness. (shrink)
Radical feminists have argued that there are normative exclusions that have silenced certain voices and have rendered certain meanings unintelligible. Some Wittgensteinians (including some Wittgensteinian feminists) have argued that these radical feminists fall into a philosophical illusion by appealing to the notions of 'intelligible nonsense' and 'inexpressible meanings', an illusion that calls for philosophical therapy. In this paper I diagnose and criticize the therapeutic dilemma that results from this interpretation of Wittgenstein's contextualism. According to this dilemma, if something is meaningful, (...) it must be expressible from the perspective of the participant in language-games; and if it is not so expressible, it is not meaningful at all. I argue that this is a false dilemma that rests on the untenable internalist notion of a unified 'participant's perspective'. I propose an alternative contextualist view that underscores the polyphony of language-games, that is, the irreducible multiplicity of perspectives always present in discursive practices (if only implicitly and in embryo). Through a discussion of the different meanings of silence, my polyphonic contextualism tries to show that our linguistic practices always exhibit an irreducible diversity and heterogeneity of points of view that cannot be subsumed under a unified perspective. (shrink)
A viable environmental ethics must confront “the silence of nature”—the fact that in our culture only humans have status as speaking subjects. Deep ecology has attempted to do so by challenging the idiom of humanism that has silenced the natural world. This approach has been criticized by those who wish to rescue the discourse of reason in environmental ethics. I give a genealogy of nature’s silence to show how various motifs of medieval and Renaissance origins have worked together (...) historically to create the fiction of “Man,” a character portrayed as sole subject, speaker, and telos of the world. I conclude that the discourse of reason, as a guide to social practice, is implicated in this fiction and, therefore, cannot break the silence of nature. Instead, environmental ethics must learn a language that leaps away from the motifs of humanism, perhaps by drawing on the discourse of ontological humility found in primal cultures, postmodern philosophy, and medieval contemplative tradition. (shrink)
Philosophy and the Maternal Body is a fascinating exploration of an overlooked aspect of feminist thought: what is the role of maternity in philosophy and in what ways has it been used by male theorists to effectively "silence" the voices of women in philosophy? Drawing on rich examples such as Plato's allegory of the cave, Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein's writing on the mother and the mother-daughter relationship, and the psychoanalytic and feminist insights of Irigaray and Kristeva, Michelle Boulous (...) Walker clearly shows how terms such as denial, repression and foreclosure offer crucial insight into the philosophical construction of the maternal body. (shrink)
Often a concern for truthfulness becomes the celebration of radical truthfulness, where this involves both the utter refusal of deception and that all moral and political beliefs be fit to survive publicity. An unfortunate consequence of this is that it has blinded us to a fair and accurate understanding of the nature and role of an important technique of virtue—temperance. Temperance implies a strategy of renunciation and withdrawal from the full content of our psychological lives. It involves us in pursuing (...) and sustaining a practice of deliberative silence about those purposes and ends which, as we see things, threaten us with corruption and the world with evil. (shrink)
The “blue wall of silence” -- the rule that police officers will not testify against each other -- has its roots in an important associational virtue, loyalty, which, in the context of friendship and familial relations, is of central importance. This article seeks to distinguish the worthy roots of the “blue wall” from its frequent corruption in the covering up of serious criminality, and attempts to offer criteria for determining when to testify and when to respond in other ways (...) to the flaws of fellow officers. (shrink)
An approach that allows us to see more clearly what Chan Buddhists mean by the inadequacy of language is based on three principles of liminology of language: (1) the radical problematization of any absolute, immobilized limit of language; (2) insight into the mutual connection and transition between two sides of language--speaking and non-speaking; and (3) linguistic twisting as the strategy of play at the limit of language. It helps us to rediscover how Chan masters perceived a dynamic, mutually involving relation (...) between two sides of the limit of language, and how they demonstrated a marvelous interplay between speech and silence, a skillful performance of various novel linguistic strategies, et cetera, in order to negotiate the limit of language. (shrink)
In coming to words, language “reserves” itself: it holds back its event, keeping it illegible and silent. It is possible to see much of modern innovative or “experimental” poetry as such an experience of reticence and stillness, an experiment of language listening to itself “speaking” in order to allow the force of the illegible to come to speech. How this silence both limits what can be said and holds what has been written open to the possibilities of saying otherwise (...) comes from the “restraint” characteristic of the specific way in which language “speaks,” that is, arrives each time singularly as words precisely by withholding this very arrival from signification. Myung Mi Kim’s poetry stands out among contemporary American poets precisely for its specific attentiveness to this simultaneously “generative” and “constraining” force of silence. To understand better the workings of this force of silence, I examine Kim’s poetry in the context of Heidegger’s reflection on language, specifically his point about the withdrawal and restraint “essential” to the unfolding of language. I suggest that this withdrawal marks the poietic momentum of language, which can be traced, though, only by way of a listening response. This listening response becomes in turn a kind of constraint under which poetic thinking operates, a holding back of assertions and statements in favor of a listening which responds precisely to how the saying withholds itself from what comes to be said. Exploring the proximity between Kim’s poetry and Heidegger’s thinking, this essay examines how this withdrawal—a restraint at play in language itself--necessitates the attitude of poetic “reservedness.”. (shrink)
This essay tries to demonstrate two distinct but complementary visions to a central theme of Christian faith: humanity’s redemption in the crucified Christ. It will attempt to show how the poetics of Simone Weil (1909–1943) and the poetic art of Georges Rouault (1871–1943) embody different understandings of Christian faith. Considering faith from a philosophical approach, Weil detaches the sufferings of Christ from the totality of salvific history. Viewing faith from the artistic approach, Rouault places the crucified Christ in the context (...) of the history of salvation, including Mary and the Church. Though different from one another, these two visions reveal to us a light in the midst of our dark or suffering existence that makes audible or perceptible the silence of God’s love in Christ that is its source. (shrink)
In 1991 Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs made oﬀ with ﬁve Academy Awards, including the coveted "Best Picture." Merely to introduce this fact I have already had to ignore several potentially relevant questions.  But I will spare you the tedium of endlessly qualifying my choice of subject matter; both existentialism and psychoanalysis teach us that the attempt to get behind our own starting points or render our pasts completely transparent to ourselves is an impossible task. Rather, (...) let me lay my Heideggerian cards on the table up front, brieﬂy outlining the methodological understanding from which I will be working in the rest of this paper. (shrink)
Kwan, Tze-wan 關子尹, Articulation-cum-Silence: In Search of a Philosophy of Orientation 語默無常: 尋找定向中的哲學反思 Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9180-3 Authors King-pong Chiu 趙敬邦, Department of Religions and Theology, University of Manchester, Opal Hall G.B13, Cavendish Street, Manchest, M15 6BB UK Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 9 Journal Issue Volume 9, Number 3.
The power to influence decisions is inherent in newspaper practices of publishing or withholding information about significant events - creating profound ethical questions. The two major newspapers in Seattle provide an example of selective coverage of the Great Depression. Area unemployment that reached 25% and galloping bank failures were ignored, as were social implications of such events. Questions are raised here about the moral implications of strategic silence, or reverse agenda setting, as a means of encouraging broadened discussion of (...) the implications of such selective coverage. (shrink)
While the demise of Enron has raised a number of interesting issues, such as proper governance of large corporations, and the effectiveness and efficiency of statutory direction and regulatory mechanisms, the lack of meaningful vocal stakeholder stewardship has not been one of them. While the relative “silence” of Enron’s stakeholders (watchdogs) could simply have been a communication glitch, or a temporary lapse in social morality, an understanding of hat was not said and why, could well be a significant requisite (...) in formulating meaningful measures to preclude future Enrons. Why weren’t the watchdogs barking? Why had the stakeholder alert system shut down? Further, what are the implications for then and now of this quiescence? Since Enron’s demise many questions have been asked and answered about what went wrong. But little has been said about why the stakeholders failed to speak out by exercising their fiduciary responsibilities. This paper takes a closer look at the behavior of some key Enron stakeholders. (shrink)
Certain passages in the Meditations indicate a silence of Descartes before the mystery of God. These passages underscore the inadequacy of reason to penetrate God’s attributes. Descartes underlines the incomprehensibility of God’s infinity and God’s purposes. He evokes an intuitive knowledge of God which transcends the conceptual. Relevant passages in the correspondence of Descartes indicate Descartes’s repeated concern with the limits of philosophical theology and support a deconstruction of the Medítations which privileges its recurrent theologia negativa. Such an interpretation (...) of the religious theory in public and private Cartesian texts contests the persistent “rationalist” interpretation of Descartes, which reduces the theology of the Meditations to a series of deductive proofs. (shrink)
Some accounts of social life give explanatory emphasis to normative requirements themselves. This paper resists such a tendency. It is argued that when normative requirements themselves are given explanatory priority the concept of social normativity tends to be situated between these requirements on the one hand, and the practice of evaluating conduct in accordance with those requirements. Normativity so situated is then required to bridge the justificatory gap between the two. It is further illustrated how such an explanatory (...) structure is designed to avoid questions concerning the legitimacy of the exercise of power. Making room for the silence of social normativity involves paying theoretical attention to the time before the first instance of a problematisation of a certain way of doing, which is thereafter commonly described, under the benefit of hindsight, as a deviation from a rule that was implicit all along, and merely made explicit. Instead of believing or assuming that we are able to achieve mastery and control over the practices we engage in, we ought to recognise, instead, that persons are always and already, inevitably and necessarily, emotionally involved in certain common or joint objects that are, at any one time, invisible to them. Given the pervasiveness, tenacity and, sometimes, violence of the silence of social normativity, the vital question becomes: how can we educate future generations such that they are both capable and willing to reflect on the consequences of their practices? (shrink)
In recent times, whistleblowing has become one of the most popularly debated issues of business ethics. Popular discussion has coincided with the institutionalisation of whistleblowing via legal and administrative practices, supported by the emergence of academic research in the field. However, the public practice and knowledge that has subsequently developed appears to construct a dichotomy of whistleblowing/silence ; that is, an employee elects either to ‘blow the whistle’ on organisational wrongdoing, or remain silent. We argue that this public transcript (...) of whistleblowing/silence overshadows the importance of continuing research into alternative (individual or collective) employee behaviour. Drawing on original research with a financial services organisation, our research uncovers a dissenting discourse that operates through implicit communication, such as codes, sarcasm and jokes. We suggest that this hidden transcript offers significant opportunities for employees to act ethically, and offers the potential to sustain an ethical organisational culture. (shrink)
In this commentary I discuss the shared theme found in articles by Hoult, Calof, Cheit, Freyd, and Salter (this issue) of the prices of resisting attempts to engender silence when the topic is sexual abuse of children. The parallels between silencing tactics of sexual abusers of children and those used by the false memory movement against its critics are analyzed. Questions are raised about the ethical implications of such silencing strategies.
Barbara Applebaum develops a conceptual framework that makes clear the ways that speech acts reproduce power, especially as it serves to maintain the marginalisation of non-heterosexual people. However, Applebaum's focus on explicit "utterances" and "expressions of beliefs" is too narrow, leaving out silence, especially the silence around sexual orientation in school curricula. Silence is a speech act that serves the reproduction of power and promotes harm just as powerfully as the other speech acts Applebaum is willing to (...) censor; and so she begs the question: can we forget to censor silence in the fight against heterosexism? (shrink)
This paper seeks to address the relationship between two key areas of contention figuring in the communicative realities in which language is used and the morality of action: the role of silence and the role of power and the lack thereof. It is proposed that action per se becomes problematic under practical manifestations of silence such as inarticulacy (which is aggravated by major asymmetries in the global politics of language) and ignorance, and that even when action is possible, (...) deciding on what would constitute morally right action under such circumstances remains a question. Furthermore, another key hindrance to action for greater justice and equality is constituted by lack of empowerment. This paper presents the view that a beginning towards answering such questions can be made on the basis of the recognition of the universality of human creativity, in the domains of both language and constructive action, and the fundamental universality of human morality with culture- and communityspecific modes of putting that morality into practice. (shrink)
The aim of this study was to examine to what extent patients remained silent to the health care system after they experienced abusive or wrongful incidents in health care. Female patients visiting a women’s clinic in Sweden (n = 530) answered the Transgressions of Ethical Principles in Health Care Questionnaire (TEP), which was constructed to measure patients’ abusive experiences in the form of staff’s transgressions of ethical principles in health care. Of all the patients, 63.6% had, at some point, experienced (...) staff’s transgressions of ethical principles, and many perceived these events as abusive and wrongful. Of these patients, 70.3% had remained silent to the health care system about at least one transgression. This silence is a loss of essential feedback for the health care system and should not automatically be interpreted as though patients are satisfied. (shrink)
In this article, I suggest that exclusive attention to questions of individual moral responsibility for the killing of Vietnamese civilians in raids on My Lai and Thanh Phong (March 16, 1968, and February 24.25, 1969, respectively), while important, may serve only to silence equally important ethical questions like: Are these cases genocide and mass murder? What does the response or lack thereof of the American government and public to these events tell us about our quest for justice? If we (...) cannot ascertain a reliable account of the facts, does this relegate such actions to meaninglessness? What role does memory play in our representation of horror as well as our memorializing the past? Do we have to be both victims and executioners or can we, in Albert Camus.s words, become “neither victims nor executioners”? My point is that the relevance of this issue is less about returning to the past and assigning guilt and moral culpability and more about the pragmatic-ethical concern of addressing the conditions that make such actions possible. (shrink)