Despite the enormous impact that war and the threat of war have had on human well-being, utilitarians have had surprisingly little to say about when, if ever, we may fight wars. Discussion of this question has been dominated by realism, pacifism and just war theory. This article takes some preliminary steps toward remedying this situation. I begin by spelling out what I call the Utilitarian War Principle (UWP). After presenting some considerations in its favour and answering some possible objections to (...) it, I compare UWP with pacifism and with the principles of jus ad bellum found in the work of contemporary just war theorists. I argue that adherents of UWP should treat those principles as secondary moral principles, which, although subordinate to UWP, can and should guide its application and which, in turn, should be refined and revised with this goal in mind. (shrink)
The adversary system and the practice of law -- The rule of law -- The moral force of law -- Statutes -- Precedents -- Constitutional interpretation -- Natural law and legal positivism: classical perspectives -- Formalism and legal realism -- Morality and the law -- International law -- Law and economics -- The justification of punishment -- The rights of defendants -- Sentencing -- Criminal responsibility -- Compensating for private harms: the law of torts -- Private ownership: the law of (...) property -- Private agreements: the law of contract -- Church and state -- Personal liberty and privacy -- Freedom of speech -- Equality. (shrink)
Originally delivered at a conference of Marxist philosophers in China, this article examines some links, and some tensions, between business ethics and the traditional concerns of Marxism. After discussing the emergence of business ethics as an academic discipline, it explores and attempts to answer two Marxist objections that might be brought against the enterprise of business ethics. The first is that business ethics is impossible because capitalism itself tends to produce greedy, overreaching, and unethical business behavior. The second is that (...) business ethics is irrelevant because focusing on the moral or immoral conduct of individual firms or businesspeople distracts one’s attention from the systemic vices of capitalism. I argue, to the contrary, that, far from being impossible, business requires and indeed presupposes ethics and that for those who share Marx’s hope for a better society, nothing could be more relevant than engaging the debate over corporate social responsibility. In line with this, the article concludes by sketching some considerations favoring corporations’ adopting a broader view of their social and moral responsibilities, one that encompasses more than the pursuit of profit. (shrink)
A unique and compact collection, Ethics at Work: Basic Readings in Business Ethics is an ideal text for courses in business ethics, business and society, or applied ethics. Bringing together eleven essays by prominent authors, it features some of the best work in the field and addresses important and provocative issues. The essays represent diverse ethical and philosophical orientations and have been edited and abridged to make them more accessible to students. The book opens with two introductory readings that discuss (...) the role of ethics in business, the relevance and importance of studying business ethics, and the basic moral responsibilities of businesspeople. The following nine essays examine various controversial moral issues in business, including corporate downsizing; overseas sweatshops; bribery; whistleblowing; drug testing; deception in sales; manipulative advertising; insider trading; and our environmental responsibilities. Students will find interesting connections and illuminating relationships between the contributors' arguments. The readings are preceded by short introductions and study questions and followed by review questions and suggestions for further reading. (shrink)
Eldon Soifer and Béla Szabados argue that hypocrisy poses a problem for consequentialism because the hypocrite, in pretending to live up to a norm he or she does not really accept, acts in ways that have good results. They argue, however, that consequentialists can meet this challenge and show the wrongness of hypocrisy by adopting a desirefulfilment version of their theory. This essay raises some doubts about Soifer and Szabados's proposal and argues that consequentialism has no difficulty coming to grips (...) with hypocrisy, whether or not one favours a desire-fulfilment account of the good. (shrink)
This essay surveys the state of business ethics in North America. It describes the distinctive features of business ethics as an academic sub-discipline and as a pedagogical topic, and compares and contrasts three rival models of business ethics current among philosophers.
Deontological moral theories may forbid a particular action in certain circumstances even though performing it would result in fewer actions of the forbidden type. This is the paradox of deontology, and the first two sections of the essay explicate this paradox and criticize some ways in which deontologists have responded to it. Thereafter, however, I come to the assistance of the deontologist. The third and fourth sections discuss the conditions that must be met before this paradox poses a genuine problem (...) and the likelihood of those conditions being satisfied. Then, with a nod to rule utilitarianism, I show that the deontologist has an important, albeit pragmatic line of rebuttal, which in conjunction with other considerations raised in the essay can assist nonconsequentialists to disarm the paradox of deontology. (shrink)
This essay critically assesses Plekhanov's famous article on the role of the individual in history. Part I explicates his treatment of the problem of free will and determinism and argues that it is unsatisfactory. The whole issue, however, is held to be largely irrelevant to Marxism. Part II then turns to the question of the explanatory weight given to individual action by historical materialism. Plekhanov's discussion of this issue is more insightful, and the essay endeavors to distinguish between the (...) strong and weak points of his analysis in order to lay the foundations for a more adequate handling of the subject. (shrink)