This study assesses the extent to which job application forms violate the New Zealand Human Rights Act. The sample for the study includes 229 job application forms, collected from a variety of large and small, public- and private-sector organizations that together employ approximately 200,000 workers. Two hundred and four or 88% of the job application forms contain at least one violation of the Act. One hundred and sixty five or 72% contain two or more and 140 or 61% contain three (...) or more violations. The most common violations concern age, gender, nationality, and disability. The least common concern political opinion, ethical belief, religious belief, and sexual orientation. Despite widespread violations, many forms do have non-discriminatory questions that yield the same kind of useful information as discriminatory questions. Employers could incorporate these into their job application forms to bring themselves into compliance with the law. The same lessons also generally apply to North American employers, given the high degree of comparability between American, Canadian, and New Zealand anti-discrimination laws. (shrink)
[Michael Smith] The requirements of instrumental rationality are often thought to be normative conditions on choice or intention, but this is a mistake. Instrumental rationality is best understood as a requirement of coherence on an agent's non-instrumental desires and means-end beliefs. Since only a subset of an agent's means-end beliefs concern possible actions, the connection with intention is thus more oblique. This requirement of coherence can be satisfied either locally or more globally, it may be only one among a number (...) of such requirements on an agent's total set of desires and beliefs, and it has no special connection with reasoning. An appreciation of these facts leads to a better understanding of both the nature and the significance of instrumental rationality. /// [Edward Harcourt] I argue that the incoherence Smith claims to identify in agents who desire that q, believe that p is a necessary means to q, but fail to desire that p is illusory, since it rests on the false assumption that every property I know to be possessed by an object of my desire is an object of my desire. Though the failure of Smith's account of the irrationality of this pattern of attitudes leaves it open that the pattern is indeed irrational, I argue that there are instances of it that are not irrational where the desires are desires for what the agent knows to be impossible for him. This conclusion casts doubt on the overall strategy-that of making a Humean theory of action explanation do duty as a theory of instrumental rationality-which implies that the norms of instrumental rationality apply to desires simply as such. I then try to criticise the strategy in such a way as to leave the Humean theory of action explanation unaffected. (shrink)
The paper develops an attack on quasi-realism in ethics, according to which expressivism about ethical discourse—understood as the thesis that the states that discourse expresses are non-representational—is consistent with some of the discourse's familiar surface features, thus ‘saving the ethical appearances’. A dilemma is posed for the quasi-realist. Either ethical discourse appears, thanks to those surface features, to express representational states, or else there is no such thing as its appearing to express such states. If the former then, by expressivism, (...) the appearance presented by ethical discourse is false, so the ethical appearances are not saved. If the latter, it is unintelligible why an appeal to projection should be needed to explain how the surface features come to express non-representational states if no explanation is needed—as evidently none is—to explain how they come to express representational states. The conclusion of this argument is then argued to converge with some other considerations which show that there is no gap between ethical discourse's possessing the surface features in question and its expressing representational states. (shrink)
As Lamarque agrees, to read philosophy is to read for truth, so if literary fiction non-accidentally conveys philosophical claims, Lamarque's anti-cognitivist position on it must be flawed. Deploying Iris Murdoch's notion of the ‘work’ an author does in a text, I try to expand what should be understood by an argument in this context, and thus address Lamarque's argument that literary fiction cannot non-accidentally convey philosophical claims because it typically contains no arguments. The main literary example is George Eliot's Felix (...) Holt ; special reference is made to the idea of an author's complicity with the reader. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against an influential view of Frege''s writings on indexical and other context-sensitive expressions, and in favour of an alternative. The centrepiece of the influential view, due to (among others) Evans and McDowell, is that according to Frege, context-sensitiveword-meaning plus context combine to express senses which are essentially first person, essentially present tense and so on, depending on the context-sensitive expression in question. Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus fits smoothly with his Intuitive Criterion of difference of (...) sense. On my view, by contrast, Frege stuck by the view which he held in his unpublished 1897 Logic, namely that the senses expressed by the combination of context-sensitive word-meaning and context could just as well be expressed by means of non-context-sensitive expressions: being first person, present tense and so on are properties, in Frege''s view, only of language, not of thought. Given the irreducibility of indexicals – a phenomenon noticed by Castañeda, Perry and others – Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus turns out to be inconsistent with the Intuitive Criterion. I argue that Frege was not aware of the inconsistency because he was not aware of the irreducibility of indexicals. This oversight was possible because the source of Frege''s interest in indexicals, as inother context-sensitive expressions, differed from that of contemporary theorists. Whereas contemporary theorists are most often interested in indexicals (and in Frege''s treatment of them) because they are interested in the indexical versions of Frege''s Puzzle and their relation to psychological explanation, Frege himself was interested in them because they pose a prima facie threat to his general conception of thoughts. The only indexical expression Frege''s view of which the above account does not cover is I insofar as it is associated with special and primitive senses, but Frege did not introduce such senses with a view to explaining theirreducibility of I his real reason for introducing them remains obscure. (shrink)
Crisp is right to detect a clash between Dancy's leading formulation of holism about reasons and the phenomenon of invariance. Replying to Crisp on behalf of the particularist, I suggest a better formulation of holism modelled on a standard treatment in the philosophy of language of context-sensitive expressions. Key Words: context-sensitivity Crisp Dancy holism invariance particularism.
The relationship among morality, reflection, and ideology is extremely intricate, with many avenues open for investigation. In this intriguing collection, an eminent group of scholars, including Bernard Williams, address the question of how far our moral beliefs and practices can survive the reflective understanding we have of them. From the work of a particular historical figure to the discussion of moral metaphysics, psychology, and political theory, the contributors approach the question from a variety of different fascinating angles.
Dismissal is a major issue for distributive justice at work, because it normally has a drastic impact on an employee’s livelihood, self-esteem and future career. This article examines distributive justice under the US’s employment-at-will (EAW) system and New Zealand’s just-cause dismissal system, focusing on the three main categories of dismissal, namely misconduct, poor performance and redundancy. Under EAW, employees have limited protection from dismissal and remedies are restricted to just a few so-called exceptions. Comparatively, New Zealand’s just-cause system delivers much (...) more just outcomes, both in terms of remedies and punishments. Despite a few shortcomings, it should be considered as a reasonable reference for policy changes in the US. (shrink)
Union security has long been an industrial relations controversy. While compulsory unionism supporters say it benefits the working class, right-to-work advocates denounce it as an unethical infringement of individual rights and freedom. Unfortunately, neither side has adequately addressed the shortcomings of their viewpoint, nor the broader worker concerns about effective representation beyond just “unionism”. In this paper, we examine the ethical and practical problems of compulsory (union security) and voluntary (right-to-work) unionism and propose a new resolution, compulsory proportional representation, that (...) has the advantages of: (a) ensuring workers’ freedom to associate or not associate, (b) promoting freedom to contract, (c) allowing free competition in representation in line with anti-trust principles, (d) improving industrial peace and efficiency, (e) enhancing fairness and social justice, and (f) addressing the employer–employee power imbalance. It is superior to either voluntary unionism, which often lead to management unilateralism, or compulsory unionism, where workers are compelled to join unions against their will. (shrink)
This paper explores the conduct of performance appraisals of nurses in a New Zealand hospital, and how fairness is perceived in such appraisals. In the health sector, performance appraisals of medical staff play a key role in implementing clinical governance, which, in turn, is critical to containing health care costs and ensuring quality patient care. Effective appraisals depend on employees perceiving their own appraisals to be fair both in terms of procedure and interaction with their respective appraiser. We examine qualitative (...) data from interviews and focus groups, involving 22 nurses in a single department, to determine whether perceived injustices impact on the effective implementation of the appraisal system. Our results suggest that particular issues had been causing some sense of injustice, and most of these were procedural. Potential solutions focus on greater formalisation of the performance appraisal process, and more training for appraisers and appraisees. (shrink)
The evidence suggests that employers discriminate against ex-offenders in the labour market. The problem is potentially serious as it involves a substantial proportion of the population, especially the male population. Since research has shown that most people with prior convictions stop offending by their late 20s or early 30s, the validity of selection based on criminal record remains questionable. This paper examines the need for legal protection of ex-offenders by limiting employers' access to, and use of, information on criminal background. (...) The rights and interests of the various parties involved, employers, ex-offenders, and the general public, are discussed. Approaches to the legal protection of ex-offenders in Australia are reviewed and legislative changes proposed. (shrink)