Our aims in this paper are: (1) to indicate some of the many ways in which needs are an important part of the moral landscape, (2) to show that the dominant contemporary moral theories cannot adequately capture the moral significance of needs, indeed, that the dominant theories are inadequate to the extent that they cannot accommodate the insights which attention to needs yield, (3) to offer some sketches that should be helpful to future cartographers charting the domain of morally significant (...) needs, and (4) to consider some anticipated objections to our project and offer some replies. -/- . (shrink)
This paper argues that many leading ethical theories are incomplete, in that they fail to account for both right and wrong. It also argues that some leading ethical theories are inconsistent, in that they allow that an act can be both right and wrong. The paper also considers responses on behalf of the target theories.
Abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq confront us with the question of how seemingly ordinary soldiers could have perpetrated harms against prisoners. In this essay I argue that a Stoic approach to the virtues can provide a bulwark against the social and personal forces that can lead to abusive behavior. In part one, I discuss Abu Ghraib. In two, I examine social psychological explanations of how ordinary, apparently decent people are able to commit atrocities. In three, I address a (...) series of questions: why should we turn to ethics for help with these problems, and why, in particular, to Stoicism instead of other ethical theories, such as utilitarianism or Kantianism? Given the power of situations in influencing behavior, is a turn to character ethics a viable response to problems such as those at Abu Ghraib? I argue in part four that character formation drawing on Stoic values can provide soldiers with the inner resilience to resist the situational factors that press them to unwarranted aggression. (shrink)
Morality for the purposes of this paper consists of sets of rules or principles intended for the general regulation of conduct for all. Intuitionist accounts of morality are rejected as making reasoned analysis of morals impossible. In many interactions, there is partial conflict and partial cooperation. From the general social point of view, the rational thing to propose is that we steer clear of conflict and promote cooperation. This is what it is rational to propose to reinforce, and to assist (...) in reinforcing in society; it is not necessarily what it is individually rational to do. Even so, given the general situation, the rationality of its reinforcement will typically support the rationality of individual action as well. Game theory makes it possible to clarify these interactions, and these proposals for social solutions. (shrink)
This paper evaluates the economic assumptions of economic theory via an examination of the capitalist transformation of creditor–debtor relations in the 18th century. This transformation enabled masses of people to obtain credit without moral opprobrium or social subordination. Classical 18th century economics had the ethical concepts to appreciate these facts. Ironically, contemporary economic theory cannot. I trace this fault to its abstract representations of freedom, efficiency, and markets. The virtues of capitalism lie in the concrete social relations (...) and social meanings through which capital and commodities are exchanged. Contrary to laissez faire capitalism, the conditions for sustaining these concrete capitalist formations require limits on freedom of contract and the scope of private property rights. (shrink)
Recently, a number of Anglo-American philosophers of very different sorts--pragmatists, metaphysicians, philosophers of language, philosophers of law, moral philosophers--have taken a reflective rather than merely recreational interest in literature. Does this literary turn mean that philosophy is coming to an end or merely down to earth? In this collection of essays, one of the most insightful of contemporary literary theorists investigates the intersection of literature and philosophy, analyzing the emerging preferences for practice over theory, particulars over universals, events over (...) structures, inhabitants over spectators, an ethics of responsibility over a morality of rules, and a desire for intimacy with the world instead of simply a disengaged knowledge of it. (shrink)
EthicalTheory: An Anthology is an authoritative collection of key essays by top scholars in the field, addressing core issues including consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, as well as traditionally underrepresented topics such as moral knowledge and moral responsibility. Brings together seventy-six classic and contemporary pieces by renowned philosophers, from classic writing by Hume and Kant to contemporary writing by Derek Parfit, Susan Wolf, and Judith Jarvis Thomson Guides students through key areas in the field, among them consequentialism, (...) deontology, contractarianism, and virtue ethics Includes coverage of metaethics, normative ethics, and practical ethics Reaches beyond traditional texts by also including important, but usually underrepresented, topics such as moral knowledge, moral standing, moral responsibility, and ethical particularism Raises questions about the status and rational authority of morality. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of EthicalTheory is a major new reference work in ethicaltheory consisting of commissioned essays by leading moral philosophers. Ethical theories have always been of central importance to philosophy, and remain so; ethicaltheory is one of the most active areas of philosophical research and teaching today. Courses in ethics are taught in colleges and universities at all levels, and ethicaltheory is the organizing principle for all (...) of them. The Handbook is divided into two parts, mirroring the field. The first part treats meta-ethicaltheory, which deals with theoretical questions about morality and moral judgment, including questions about moral language, the epistemology of moral belief, the truth aptness of moral claims, and so forth. The second part addresses normative theory, which deals with general moral issues, including the plausibility of various ethical theories and abstract principles of behavior. Examples of such theories are consequentialism and virtue theory. As with other Oxford Handbooks, the twenty-five contributors cover the field in a comprehensive and highly accessible way, while achieving three goals: exposition of central ideas, criticism of other approaches, and putting forth a distinct viewpoint. (shrink)
Rachels's two-volume EthicalTheory provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary moral philosophy, reprinting classic and contemporary articles, including many that are not otherwise readily available. Each volume contains a clearly written, substantial introduction that guides the beginner through the intricacies of the subject.
I aim to show that (i) there are good ways to argue about what has intrinsic value; and (ii) good ethical arguments needn't make ethical assumptions. I support (i) and(ii) by rebutting direct attacks, by discussing nine plausible ways to argue about intrinsic value, and by arguing for pains intrinsic badness without making ethical assumptions. If (i) and (ii) are correct, then ethicaltheory has more resources than many philosophers have thought: empirical evidence, and evidence (...) bearing on intrinsic value. With more resources, we can hope to base all of our moral beliefs on evidence rather than on, say, emotion or mere intuition. (shrink)
We review recent developments in ethical pluralism, ethical particularism, Kantian intuitionism, rights theory, and climate change ethics, and show the relevance of these developments in ethicaltheory to contemporary business ethics. This paper explains why pluralists think that ethical decisions should be guided by multiple standards and why particularists emphasize the crucial role of context in determining sound moral judgments. We explain why Kantian intuitionism emphasizes the discerning power of intuitive reason and seek to (...) integrate that with the comprehensiveness of Kant’s moral framework. And we show how human rights can be grounded in human agency, and explain the connections between human rights and climate change. (shrink)
Many environmental problems are longitudinal collective action problems. They arise from the cumulative unintended effects of a vast amount of seemingly insignificant decisions and actions by individuals who are unknown to each other and distant from each other. Such problems are likely to be effectively addressed only by an enormous number of individuals each making a nearly insignificant contribution to resolving them. However, when a person’s making such a contribution appears to require sacrifice or costs, the problem of inconsequentialism arises: (...) given that a person’s contribution, although needed (albeit not necessary), is nearly inconsequential to addressing the problem and may require some cost from the standpoint of the person’s own life, why should the person make the effort, particularly when it is uncertain (or even unlikely) whether others will do so? In this article I argue that justifications for making the effort to respond to longitudinal collective action environmental problems are, on the whole, particularly well supported by virtue-oriented normative theories, on which character traits are evaluated as virtues and vices consequentially or teleologically and actions are evaluated in terms of virtues and vices. If ethical theories are to be assessed on their theoretical and practical adequacy, and if providing a compelling response to the problem of inconsequentialism is an instance of such adequacy, then this is a reason for preferring virtue-oriented ethicaltheory over non-virtue-oriented ethical theories, such as Kantian, act utilitarian, and global utilitarian theories. (shrink)
This paper argues that navigating insects and spiders possess a degree of mindedness that makes them appropriate (in the sense of “possible”) objects of sympathy and moral concern. For the evidence suggests that many invertebrates possess a belief-desire-planning psychology that is in basic respects similar to our own. The challenge for ethicaltheory is find some principled way of demonstrating that individual insects do not make moral claims on us, given the widely held belief that some other “higher” (...) animals do make such claims on us. (shrink)
How is ethicaltheory used in contemporary teaching in business ethics? To answer this question, we undertook a survey of twenty-five of the leading business ethics texts. Our purpose was to examine the ways in which normative moral theory is introduced and applied to cases and issues. We focused especially on the authors' views of the conflicts and tensions posed by basic theoretical debates. How can these theories be made useful if fundamental tensions are acknowledged? Our analysis (...) resulted in a typology, presented here, of the ways in which normative theory, and the difficulties within it, are handled in business ethics texts. We conclude that there is a serious lack of clarity about how to apply the theories to cases and a persistent unwillingness to grapple with tensions between theories of ethical reasoning. These deficiencies hamper teaching and ethical decision-making. (shrink)
Archie Bahm argued recently that there is a gap between theoretical and applied ethics, and that those working in applied ethics must assume the burden of bridging it. Evidence of a gap is considerable, but it seems also partly due to much ethicaltheory having relatively little to offer to those grappling with practical moral problems. Some aspects of utilitarian theory are examined in this connection. Finally it is suggested that other areas of theory developing new (...) models of man may partly bridge the gap and aid those dealing with problems of moral decision-making. (shrink)
Early Confucian ethics can best be understood as character consequentialism, an ethicaltheory concerned with the effects actions have upon the cultivation of virtues and which concentrates on certain psychological goods, particularly certain kinship relationships which it regards not only as intrinsically but also instrumentally valuable, as the source of more general social virtues. According to character consequentialism, the way to maximize the good is to maximize the number of virtuous individuals in society, but because human virtues cannot (...) be cultivated by pursuing their good consequences directly, they must be sought as expressions of a life ideal. This ideal entails developing one's nature to fulfill Heaven's design. (shrink)
This article is an attempt to understand ethicaltheory not just as a set of well-developed philosophical perspectives but as a range of moral capacities that human beings more or less grow into over the course of their lives. To this end, we explore the connection between formal ethical theories and stage developmental psychologies, showing how individuals mature morally, regarding their duties, responsibilities, ideals, goals, values, and interests. The primary method is to extract from the writings of (...) Kohlberg and his students the cues that help to flesh out a developmental picture of a wide range of ethical perspectives. Thus, developmental psychology benefits from gaining a broader understanding of “morality” and “ethics,” and ethicaltheory benefits from a richer understanding of how moral maturity arises from youthful beginnings in juvenile and adolescent thinking. Results of this study offer insight into the difficulty of teaching ethics and a refined ability to assess moral maturity in business activity. (shrink)
The paper replies to Professor Alex Michalos'' keynote address, "Ethics Counsellors as a New Priesthood". Michalos argues that an intractable diversity of opinion about fundamental issues in ethicaltheory precludes substantive, well-founded ethical counselling. However, Michalos has inappropriately modelled his understanding of an acceptable structure and application for ethicaltheory on natural scientific theory. For we may countenance a less severe understanding of theory for ethicaltheory than in the hard sciences. (...) In particular, instructive moral reasoning may tolerate a degree of disagreement across human beings in their conception of moral good. On condition that such variance is not so considerable as to undermine a necessary commonality of language on ethical matters, there will be an adequate basis for warranted theory-construction in ethics and effective moral counselling underwritten by such theory. And, on the available historical evidence, such a condition can be met. (shrink)
In this book, I consider whether the hypothesis of moral dilemmas undermines ethics' pretensions to objectivity. I argue against the view that moral dilemmas challenge the very possibility of ethicaltheory, as a practical and theoretical enterprise. By examining Kantian, Intuitionist and Utilitarian arguments about moral dilemmas, I show that no ethicaltheory is capable of avoiding them. I further argue that an adequate ethicaltheory should admit dilemmas. Dilemmas do not reveal a logical (...) or normative flaw in the theory that permits them to arise, nor are they necessarily generated by subjective mistakes. Rather, dilemmas are a sign of the deliberative capacity of an agent who operates in non-ideal conditions of rationality and cooperation. The inevitability of moral dilemmas shows that we should reconsider the bounds of deliberation, and the purposes of ethicaltheory. My argument for the philosophical significance of moral dilemmas rests on the claim that an adequate ethicaltheory should make sense of moral phenomenology, and that moral phenomenology should to be understood from the perspective of an agent who conceives of herself as an agent. The view of moral dilemmas I advocate does not invite skepticism about ethicaltheory, but suggests that we redefine its scope and its many practical aims. (shrink)
Normative Ethicaltheory underwent a period of refinement in some areas and proliferation in others during the 20th century. Theories prominent in the 19th century, such as Utilitarianism, underwent refinement in light of criticisms; other approaches, such as normative intuitionism and virtue ethics, were developed in new directions, ones that reflected the sophistication of analytical techniques developed by philosophers in the 20th century, particularly in ordinary language philosophy. The middle of the 20th century was marked by an interest (...) in conceptual analysis and what could be revealed about our concepts in the analysis of ‘ordinary’ language appeals to those concepts. For example, Gilbert Ryle argued that the hope of clearing up our concepts via formalizing them was futile, and instead the task of philosophy was to clear up confusions present in the ordinary use of concepts, concepts employed by ordinary people as well as specialists in a given area. Normative ethicists in the very early part of the 20th century had not yet adopted a ‘scientizing’ attitude to philosophy. They believed, for example, that one could rely on intuition in formulating ethical theories.1 Theorists in the early part of the century were also optimistic about the prospects of systematizing normative ethics in a way that would be faithful to our common sense normative judgments. This began, largely, with a critical look at Utilitarianism. (shrink)
Some philosophers, such as Roger Crisp and Alastair Norcross, have recently argued that the traditional moral categories of wrongness, permissibility and obligation should be avoided when doing ethicaltheory. I argue that even if morality does not itself provide reasons for action, the moral categories nevertheless have a central role to play in ethicaltheory: they allow us to make crucial judgements about how to feel about, and react to, agents who behave in anti-social ways, and (...) they help motivate us to act altruistically. (shrink)
There are at least two models of what it is to be a feminist ethicist or moral philosopher. One model requires that one accept a distinctively feminist ethicaltheory. I will argue against this model by arguing that since the concept of a feminist ethicaltheory is highly unclear, any claim that ethicists who are feminist need one is also unclear and inadequately defended. I will advocate what I call a "minimal model" of feminist ethics, arguing (...) that it is philosophically and practically sufficient to meet feminist goals. (shrink)
I will treat feminist ethicaltheory as a distinct type of theory. Although some feminists are skeptical about the need for theory as distinct from cultivating practices of being morally perceptive and sensitive, many others argue for the theory they see as needed. Feminist ethicaltheory usually includes, but is not limited to, the concerns that have been developed under the heading of ‘the ethics of care’ or ‘care ethics’. Care ethics are usually (...) contrasted with ethics of justice, such as Kantian and utilitarian moral theories. Instead of being a theory primarily focused on right action, an ethic of care seeks moral evaluations of relations between persons, and reinterprets both personal and political relations in light of the value of care. I will show how feminist ethicaltheory differs from virtue theory as well as from Kantian and utilitarian theories. (shrink)
The concept of care and a related ethicaltheory of care have emerged as increasingly important in biomedical ethics. This essay outlines a series of questions about the conceptualization of care and its place in ethicaltheory. First, it considers the possibility that care should be conceptualized as an alternative principle of right action; then as a virtue, a cluster of virtues, or as a synonym for virtue theory. The implications for various interpretations of the (...) debate of the relation of care and justice are then explored, suggesting three possible meanings for that contrast. Next, the possibility that care theorists are taking up the debate over the relation between principles and cases is considered. Finally, it is suggested that care theorists may be pressing for consideration of an entirely new question in moral theory: the assessment of the normative appropriateness of relationships. Issues needing to be addressed in an ethic of relationships are suggested. (shrink)
W. D. Ross’s ethicaltheory requires us somehow to compare the metaphorical “weights” of different prima facie duties, but it leaves mysterious how this might be done. The formulation of a procedure to achieve such a comparison would be desirable on practical, theoretical, and pedagogical grounds. I formulate a procedure that is congenial to Ross’s theory. Central to my procedure are instructions to characterize the weight of each prima facie duty with respect to (a) the general stringency (...) of this kind of duty, (b) the stringency of this particular duty relative to other duties of its own kind, and (c) the degree to which the duty specifically demands the particular action that it favors in a given case. The procedure leads to a determination of one’s actual, all-things-considered duty in some cases but not in all. (shrink)
Perhaps the most common criticism of Kant’s ethicaltheory is that of formalism. In this paper, I propose to deal with that charge as it is applied to the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Specifically, this essay clarifies the nature of the charge of formalism, as well as the issue of whether Kant develops an ethicaltheory in the Groundwork, and whether formalism is a valid criticism of the Groundwork.
It is often taken for granted that there is a crucial dichotomy between positive science, with its interest in what is the case, and morality, with its supposed interest in what ought to be the case. This assumption takes its departure from a belief in the notion of unconditional or categorical obligation or ?the moral? as ?that whose nature it is to be required or demanded?. The notion of unconditional or categorical obligation, together with the assumption that there is a (...) dichotomy between considerations of what is the case and what ought to be the case, however widespread and entrenched this notion and assumption might be, are logically confused. But to demonstrate this logical confusion is not the only task confronting ethicaltheory. Another, and often neglected task, is to draw attention to the ethical origins of this confusion in a particular way of life. Hegel's distinction between Moralität (Moral Life) and Sittlichkeit (Ethical Life) is of critical importance here. The obstacle to the development of ethicaltheory, then, is not some abstract ?logical confusion?, but is, rather, the way of life (Moral Life) of which this confusion is a natural expression. (shrink)
Jurgen Habermas' construction of a critical social theory of society grounded in communicative reason is one of the very few real philosophical inventions of recent times that demands and repays extended engagement. In this elaborate and sympathetic study which places Habermas' project in the context of critical theory as a whole past and future, J. M. Bernstein argues that despite its undoubted achievements, it contributes to the very problems of ethical dislocation and meaninglessness it aims to diagnose (...) and remedy. Bernstein further argues that the precise character of the failures of Habermas' program demonstrate the necessity for a return to the first generation critical theory of Adorno. Reading across nearly the whole range of Habermas' corpus, Recovering Ethical Life traces the development of the theory of communicative reason from its inception in Knowledge and Human Interests through its elaboration in The Theory of Communicative Action and into its defense against postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity . In separate chapters Habermas' readings of Freud, Durkheim amd Mead, Adorno and Foucault, Castoriadis and Taylor are critically examined. The focus of Bernstein's analyses, however, is always problem centered and thematic rather than textual psychoanalytic theory as an account of self knowledge, the competing claims of ethical identity and moral reason, the place of judgment in practical reason, and the debate between philosophies of language based communities versus those oriented towards world-disclosure. Critical theory is unique among current philosophies in engaging with the problems of social injustice and nihilism by siding with an abstract moral reason that forfeits the processes of intersubjective recognition it intended to salvage. Even in the fine grain of Habermas' account of performative contradictions and the theory of discourses of application, Bernstein perceives a squandering of the resources of an ethical life in need of transfiguration. (shrink)
In this paper I will explore the philosophical modes of connectivity between ethics and aesthetics. I argue first, that the traditional ethical theories of deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics can be mapped onto the aesthetic theories of formalism, functionalism and taste. Second, I argue that we can see threesimilar themes running through the literature that explicitly addresses the interdependence of ethics and aesthetics. Finally, I will outline this body of literature, which I shall call ‘aestheticoethical’ theory, using the (...) three categories of essential, instrumental and existential connection. The philosophical landscape I amoutlined in this paper represents the groundwork for a larger pedagogical project. I argue that the traditional ethicaltheory is limited when it comes to teaching ethics to students going into creative industries like advertising. I propose that these three modes of aesthetico-ethicaltheory can be used to construct an alternative theoretical framework for teaching ethics at the intersection of creativity and commercial practice. Is philosophy relevant to everyday life? Is it not too abstract and general? The knowledge of priests, psychologists or physicians is as abstract and general, yet its relevance is not contested. Is not its relevance limited to the case of the rare sage which is both able to discuss complex philosophical matters and ready to adopt “the philosophical attitude” to life? Suchpopular notions ignore controversies with regard to the existence of such sages, the content of their alleged wisdom, or the nature or impact of their “philosophical attitude”. Modern philosophy is generally much more skeptical, realistic, pluralistic and therefore “democratic” than the elitist classics. It does not trust myths about the “good life” of the wise, nor ignore their preoccupation with death. (shrink)
F. P. Bishop argues that the ethical standard for advertising practitioners must be utilitarian. Indeed, the utilitarian theory of ethics in decision-making has traditionally been the preference of U.S. advertising practitioners. This article, therefore, argues that the U.S. advertising industry''s de-emphasis of deontological ethics is a reason for its continuing struggle with unfavorable public perceptions of its ethics — and credibility. The perceptions of four scenarios on advertising ethics and the analyses of the openended responses of 174 members (...) of the American Advertising Federation to those scenarios suggest that advertising practitioners need a stricter adherence to deontological ethics than is indicated in this study. (shrink)
This paper aims to evaluate thechallenges posed to traditional ethical theoryby the ethics of feminism, multiculturalism,and environmentalism. I argue that JamesSterba, in his Three Challenges to Ethics,provides a distorted assessment by trying toassimilate feminism, multiculturalism, andenvironmentalism into traditional utilitarian,virtue, and Kantian/Rawlsian ethics – which hethus seeks to rescue from their alleged``biases.'''' In the cases of feminism andmulticulturalism, I provide an alternativeaccount on which these new critical discourseschallenge the whole paradigm or conception ofethical inquiry embodied in the tradition.They embrace different (...) questions, goals, toolsof analysis, and wider audiences, typicallyignored or marginalized by traditionalethicists.I illustrate my argument through briefinterpretations of writers such as Susan Okin,Catharine Mackinnon, Sandra Bartky, JohnStoltenberg, Richard Wasserstrom, AnthonyAppiah, Charles Mills, Will Kymlicka, CharlesTaylor, and Martha Nussbaum. In many of thesecases, I suggest that they provide us with newways of being ethicists.In the case of environmentalism, I defend amore conservative and negative assessment.Sterba embraces authors such as Peter Singer,Tom Regan, and Paul Taylor in order to advancean environmentalist ethic of ``speciesequality/impartiality'''' and ``biocentricpluralism.'''' Here I argue that the traditionalKantian/Rawlsian ethics – which Sterba hopesto accommodate – actually provides compellingmoral reasons for rejecting his principles of``species impartiality'''' and biocentricpluralism. Moreover, Rawlsian ethics canprovide a more coherent, consistent, andplausible account of environmental issues thanSterba''s brand of environmental ethics. Iargue that in practice, his ethics concedeswhat it denies in theory – namely, the specialvalue which inheres in human beings.As such, environmental ethics, unlike feminismand multiculturalism, poses very little in theway of a credible challenge or alternative totraditional ethics. (shrink)
Millions of people undergo displacement in the world. Internally displaced people (IDP) are especially vulnerable as they are not protected by special legislation in contrast to other migrants. Research conducted among IDPs must be correspondingly sensitive in dealing with ethical issues that may arise. Muslim IDPs in Puttalam district in the North-Western province of Sri Lanka were initially displaced from Northern Sri Lanka due to the conflict in 1991. In the backdrop of a study exploring the prevalence of common (...) mental disorders among the IDPs, researchers encountered various ethical challenges. These included inter-related issues of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, confidentiality and informed consent, and how these were tailored in a culture-specific way to a population that has increased vulnerability. This paper analyses how these ethical issues were perceived, detected and managed by the researchers, and the role of ethics review committees in mental health research concerning IDPs. The relevance of guidelines and methodologies in the context of an atypical study population and the benefit versus risk potential of research for IDPs are also discussed. The limitations that were encountered while dealing with ethical challenges during the study are discussed. The concept of post-research ethical conduct audit is suggested to be considered as a potential step to minimize the exploitation of vulnerable populations such as IDPs in mental health research. (shrink)
Bernard Williams influentially attacked ethicaltheory. This paper assesses arguments for the ‘anti-theory’ position in ethics, including mainly arguments put forward by Williams but also arguments put forward by others. The paper begins by discussing what is supposed to be theory in ethics and what ethical intuitions are taken to be by those involved in the theory versus anti-theory debate. Then the paper responds to the objections that ethicaltheory is mistaken (...) to prize principles, mistaken to prize rationalism, mistaken to presume or prize foundational unity, mistaken to presume morality is deeply impartial, mistaken to presume to tell agents how to deliberate, mistaken to presume or prize ethical codifiability, mistaken to presume value commensurability, and mistaken to eliminate ethical dilemmas. (shrink)
There seems to be a prevailing belief among public relations professionals that ethical problems can easily be solved by either reference to a simplified code or citation of a few well-worn platitudes. However, the route to a more complete understanding of questions of ethics is circuitous and often painstaking. By applying a number of ethical theories to a public relations problem, both the skilled public relations technician and the public relations professional may arrive at similar conclusions concerning moral (...) obligations; however, the professional is in the most favorable position to effect change. (shrink)
Having thought out the Enlightenment project of individualism, privacy, and autonomy to its end, Anglo-American ethicaltheory now finds itself unable to respond to the collapse of community in which the practices justified by this project have resulted. In the place of reasonable deliberation about the goals to be chosen and the means to them, we now, it seems, have only what MacIntyre has aptly called “interminable debate” among “rival” positions, debate in which each party merely contends with (...) the others for its own advantage. And this circumstance MacIntyre himself seems unable to escape despite his best efforts. In further elaborating Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutical reception of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and Hegel, and in referring simultaneously to Edmund Burke’s parallel political rhetoric, among other tradition-oriented arguments in the English language, this book seeks a recollection of shared ethical principles, a recollection which alone, it is argued, might prevent the devolution of discussion into war with words and make possible some measure of consensus, however provisional and shadowed by dissent it will be. (shrink)
This article offers an overview over the wide scope business ethics has reached in German speaking countries; works which in their majority are not yet available in English translation. The proposed concepts range from a focus on the individual manager and a focus on moral education of managers, via the procedural model of discourse ethics to pressure group ethics and business ethics from a Christian point of view. Other authors suggest an economic theory of moral behaviour, or see ethics (...) as an assurance for decisions under uncertainty or argue for a more enlightened concept of economic rationality. (shrink)
A driving force behind the evolution of the stakeholder concept is the potential of negative outcomes for an organization as the result of conflict between that organization and its stakeholders. Where conflict does arise between an organization and stakeholder how might it be resolved in a manner compatible with stakeholder theory? Applying feminist ethicaltheory as a theoretical basis for stakeholder theory, mediation provides an appropriate process for resolving such disputes in comparison to traditional adversarial strategies. (...) This paper discusses the attributes of mediation, and its potential benefits as a method to resolve disputes between businesses and their stakeholders. (shrink)
Are there good grounds for thinking that the moral values of action are to be derived from those of character? This virtue ethical claim is sometimes thought of as a kind of normative ethicaltheory; sometimes as form of opposition to any such theory. However, the best case to be made for it supports neither of these claims. Rather, it leads us to a distinctive view in moral epistemology: the view that my warrant for a particular (...) moral judgement derives from my warrant for believing that I am a good moral judge. This view seems to confront a regress-problem. For the belief that I am a good moral judge is itself a particular moral judgement. So it seems that, on this view, I need to derive my warrant for believing that I am a good moral judge from my warrant for believing that I am a good judge of moral judges; and so on. I show how this worry can be met, and trace the implications of the resulting view for warranted moral judgement. (shrink)
Following John Rawls, writers like Bernard Williams and Christine Korsgaard have suggested that a transparency condition should be put on ethical theories. The exact nature of such a condition and its implications is however not anything on which there is any consensus. It is argued here that the ultimate rationale of transparency conditions is epistemic rather than substantively moral, but also that it clearly connects to substantive concerns about moral psychology. Finally, it is argued that once a satisfactory form (...) of the transparency condition is formulated, then, at least among the main contenders within ethicaltheory, it speaks in favor of a broadly Aristotelian approach to ethical theorizing. (shrink)
This essay critically assesses two strategies of accommodation used by defenders of impartialism in ethics to argue that the care orientation represents no genuine challenge to impartialist theoretical paradigms. One strategy focuses on impartiality as a constraint on moral deliberation, the other as a constraint on moral justification. While highlighting respects in which the commitment to impartiality is more consonant with the care orientation than many advocates of care have acknowledged, this essay attempts to clarify crucial ways in which each (...) accommodationist strategy falls, thus locating some of the more important contributions and challenges the care orientation offers to moral theory. (shrink)
In this article, we argue that a critical examination of epistemological and anthropological presuppositions might lead to a more fruitful use of theory in clinical-ethical practice. We differentiate between two views of conceptualizing ethics, referring to Charles Taylors' two epistemological models: ‘monological’ versus ‘dialogical consciousness’. We show that the conception of ethics in the model of ‘dialogical consciousness’ is radically different from the classical understanding of ethics in the model of ‘monological consciousness’. To reach accountable moral judgments, ethics (...) cannot be conceptualized as an individual enterprise, but has to be seen as a practical endeavor embedded in social interactions within which moral understandings are being negotiated. This view has specific implications for the nature and the role of ethicaltheory. Theory is not created in the individual mind of the ethicist; the use of theory is part of a joint learning process and embedded in a cultural context and social history. Theory is based upon practice, and serves practical purposes. Thus, clinical ethics support is both practical and theoretical. (shrink)
R.M. Hare is one of the most widely discussed of today's moral philosophers. In this volume he has collected a number of essays, including one which is previously unpublished, which fill in the theoretical background of his thought. Each essay is self-contained, but together they give a connected picture of his views on such questions as the objectivity and rationality of moral thinking, the issue between the ethical realists and their opponents, the place in our moral thought of appeals (...) to common convictions, and how to tell whether a feature of a situation is morally relevant. (shrink)
Introduction: Redeeming recognition -- Oppression reconsidered -- Foundations of a liberal conception -- Toward a liberal conception of oppression -- Conclusion : A liberal conception of oppression -- Misrecognition as oppression -- Exploitation and disempowerment -- Cultural imperialism -- Marginalization -- Violence -- Conclusion: Misrecognition as oppression -- Overcoming oppression : the limits of toleration -- Contemporary differences : matters of toleration -- John Rawls : political liberalism -- Will Kymlicka : multicultural citizenship -- Conclusion: Accommodating differences : the limits (...) of toleration -- Beyond toleration : toward a concept of recognition -- Hegel's early Jena theory of recognition -- Axel Honneth's critical social theory of recognition -- Charles Taylor's politics of recognition -- Conclusion: Toward a concept of public recognition -- Hegel's theory of recognition in the phenomenology : recognitive understanding and freedom -- The centrality of recognition in the phenomenology -- The pure concept of recognition and its failure in mastery and slavery -- The achievement of mutual recognition through recognitive understanding -- Challenges to Hegel's recognition theory -- Conclusion: Hegel's theory of recognition in the phenomenology -- Recognition in the philosophy of right : particularity and its right -- Recognition in the philosophy of right -- Particularity in the free market : the benefits and liabilities of free subjectivity -- Conclusion: The significance of the right of particularity -- Winning the right of particularity : recognizing difference in ethical life -- How particularity wins its right : the bildung of true conscience -- Exercising the right of particularity : corporations as sites of public recognition -- Challenges to Hegel's treatment of difference in ethical life -- Conclusion: The public recognition of difference in civil society -- Conclusion: Hegel, recognition, and ethical liberal modernity. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive study of the ethics of G. E. Moore, the most important English-speaking ethicist of the twentieth century. Moore's ethical project, set out in his seminal text Principia Ethica, is to preserve common moral insight from skepticism and, in effect, persuade his readers to accept the objective character of goodness. Brian Hutchinson explores Moore's arguments in detail and in the process relates the ethical thought to Moore's anti-skeptical epistemology. Moore was, without perhaps fully realizing (...) it, skeptical about the very enterprise of philosophy itself, and in this regard, as Brian Hutchinson reveals, was much closer in his thinking to Wittgenstein than has been previously realized. This book shows Moore's ethical work to be much richer and more sophisticated than his critics have acknowledged. (shrink)
In this new contribution to moral theory, Todd Lekan argues for a pragmatist conception of morality as an evolving, educational, and fallible practice of everyday life. Drawing on the work of John Dewey, Lekan asserts that moral norms are neither timeless truths nor subjective whims, but habits transmitted through practices. Like the habits that make up medicine or engineering, moral habits are subject to rational evaluation and change according to new challenges and circumstances.
This is a study of Aristotle's moral philosophy as it is contained in the Nicomachean Ethics. Hardie examines the difficulties of the text; presents a map of inescapable philosophical questions; and brings out the ambiguities and critical disagreements on some central topics, inclduing happiness, the soul, the ethical mean, and the initiation of action.
The work of John Rawls is central to contemporary political philosophy. A Theory of Justice provides a model for the justification of substantive principles of justice, and it defends principles that reject utilitarianism. Ultimately, justification is a matter of what the participants in a relationship or an institution can justify to one another. Unlike utilitarianism, which assumes that there is one good that it is the job of morality to maximize, Rawls holds that there are multiple conceptions of the (...) good associated with different individuals. Furthermore, he holds that there are multiple principles of morality associated with different relationships and institutions. His principles of justice are designed for one of these—the basic structure of society. They establish a moral minimum that all members of a society owe to one another, but additional principles are required to govern other special relationships. (shrink)
In discussions of animal ethics, hypothetical scenarios are often used to try to force the clarification of intuitions about the relative value of human and animal life. Tom Regan requests, for example, that we imagine a man and a dog adrift in a lifeboat while Peter Singer explains why the life of one's child ought to be preferred to that of the family dog in the event of a house fire. I argue that such scenarios are not the usefully abstract (...) analytic tools they purport to be, but indirectly reinforce assumptions that are not only anthropocentric, but also tied to racist, sexist and ethnocentric stereotypes. An analysis of some of the cultural and ethical associations of the notion of self-sacrifice proves especially useful in revealing some of the limitations of certain popular Western approaches to animal ethics. (shrink)
The purpose of this study is to expand our understanding of the factors that influence ethical behavioral intentions of public accountants. Recent scandals have dominated the news and have caused legislators, regulators and the public to question the role of the accounting profession. Legislative changes have brought about major structural changes in the profession and continued scrutiny will surely lead to further changes. Thus, developing an understanding of the personal and contextual factors that influence ethical decisions is critical. (...) An extension of the theory of planned behavior [Ajzen, I.: 1985, Action Control-From Cognition to Behavior (Springer, Heidelberg)], the model used in this study examined the influence of personal, social and organizational factors on ethical intentions. Specifically, the individual level model tested direct effects of attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, moral sensitivity and ethical climate. Professionals from five accounting firms completed a survey that measured responses to ethical dilemmas related to the public accounting domain. To minimize the potential impact of common method bias, the survey instrument was administered in two phases. Hypotheses were evaluated using a structural modeling technique, partial least squares. Results show strong support for a direct relationship between attitudes and ethical intentions. The proposed direct effect of subjective norms was not supported. However, a significant relationship between subjective norms and attitudes was found. Professionals’ attitudes towards ethical issues clearly influence intentions. Moreover, this study illustrates the potential influence of social factors in attitude formation. Future research should explore the factors in the public accounting domain that most strongly influence attitude formation. This study suggests that the theory of reasoned action offers a useful framework for exploring these issues. (shrink)
This paper discusses the philosophical argument and the application of the Triple Font Theory (TFT) for moral evaluation of human acts and attempts to integrate the conceptual components of major moral theories into a systematic internally consistent decision-making model that is theoretically driven. The paper incorporates concepts such as formal and material cooperation and the Principle of Double Effect (PDE) into the theoretical framework. It also advances the thesis that virtue theory ought to be included in any adequate (...) justification of morality and the need to integrate or coordinate notions of virtue into various act-oriented or principles-based ethics. The TFT offers a comprehensive and practical approach to ethical decision-making and is a useful alternative embedded in traditional wisdom. This paper provides a more general framework of the TFT than traditionally presented. Practical judgment is shown to play a constitute role in providing a guide for right action and is the “glue” that integrates the various components of the TFT. (shrink)
There are gaps in the Social and Ethical issues literature regarding the structure of individual ethical reasoning and the process through which personal ethical standards erode or decline. Social Penetration Theory may be used to view ethical issues of low, moderate, or high salience. It also produces a model of the process by which an individual turns to less desirable ethical reasoning and behavior.
Using traditional meta-analytic techniques, we compile relevant research to enhance conceptual appreciation of ethical climate theory (ECT) as it has been studied in the descriptive and applied ethics literature. We explore the various treatments of ethical climate to understand how the theoretical framework has developed. Furthermore, we provide a comprehensive picture of how the theory has been extended by describing the individual-level work climate outcomes commonly studied in this theoretical context. Meta-analysis allows us to resolve inconsistencies (...) in previous findings as well as confirm the central tenets of the overall ethical climate framework. In addition, we consider the ethical climate relationships in the larger context of the␣theoretical framework, using path analysis to test the structural relationships. Overall, our results provide evidence of the relationships between ethical climate perceptions and individual-level work outcomes. Based on our analyses, we offer future research directions important for further development of ECT. (shrink)
Despite significant ethical advances in recent years, including professional developments in ethical review and codification, research deception continues to be a pervasive practice and contentious focus of debate in the behavioral sciences. Given the disciplines' generally stated ethical standards regarding the use of deceptive procedures, researchers have little practical guidance as to their ethical acceptability in specific research contexts. We use social contract theory to identify the conditions under which deception may or may not be (...) morally permissible and formulate practical recommendations to guide researchers on the ethical employment of deception in behavioral science research. (shrink)
Organizational governance has historically focused around the perspective of principals and managers and has traditionally pursued the goal of maximizing owner wealth. This paper suggests that organizational governance can profitably be viewed from the ethical perspective of organizational followers - employees of the organization to whom important ethical duties are also owed. We present two perspectives of organizational governance: Principal Theory that suggests that organizational owners and managers can often be ethically opportunistic and take advantage of employees (...) who serve them and Principle Theory that focuses on guiding principles that are sometimes taken too far in organizations. In introducing these two new organizational governance perspectives, we offer insights into the value of rethinking ethical duties owed to organizational followers. (shrink)
By focusing on the reasoned debate in the discourse-ethical approach to business ethics, this paper discusses the possibilities and limitations of moral reasoning as well as applied economic and business ethics. Business ethics, it is contended, can be looked at from the standpoint of two criteria: justification and application. These criteria are used to compare three approaches: the Integrative Business Ethics, developed by Swiss philosopher Peter Ulrich, the Cultural Business Ethics of the Nuremberg School in German business ethics, (...) and the concept of “Good Conservation” by Frederick Bird. It is argued that discourse-ethical approaches can be called upon for justifying moral principles. Improving the chances of their application, however, necessitates a good understanding of lifeworlds and culturally developed institutional settings. Bearing this in mind, further research perspectives stressing a linkage between discourse-ethical and critical approaches in social sciences are suggested. (shrink)
Environmentalists do not appear to walk their walk as consistently as animal liberationists and anti-abortionists. Are we therefore more hypocritical? Maybe; but there's another explanation. Unlike concern for individual animals or individual fetuses, environmental concerns are holistic (systemic)—air and waterpollution, species <span class='Hi'>extinction</span>, diminished ecological health and integrity. One pro-life pregnant woman may preserve the life of one unborn baby, the one in her uterus; and one animal liberationist can save the life of one animal, the one he didn't eat. (...) But one environmentalist who refuses to own and operate an automobile has no measurable effect on air pollution. Only collective, social change—universal banning of automobiles, mandatory recycling, etc.—will effectively redress environmental insults. Thus, the best way to put environmental ethics into practice is not to try to do one's bit—retire one's own car, recycle one's own waste—and leave it to every other person to do his or her bit and hope that all such individual environmental ethical acts will aggregate into significance. The best way to put environmental ethics into practice is to work to instill environmental values in society as the foundation for coercive environmental policies, regulations, and laws. The mechanistic-materialistic worldview and its associated consumerist value system trickled down into the collective consciousness via its technological manifestation in a plethora of machines. The systemic worldview in which environmental values are embedded may be communicated to the general public less by means of discursive discourse than by a new generation of systemic-electronic technologies. (shrink)
Psychological theory and research in ethical decision making and ethical professional practice are presently hampered by a failure to take appropriate account of an extensive background in moral philosophy. As a result, attempts to develop models of ethical decision making are left vulnerable to a number of criticisms: that they neglect the problems of meta-ethics and the variety of meta-ethical perspectives; that they fail clearly and consistently to differentiate between descriptive and prescriptive accounts; that they (...) leave unexplicated the theoretical assumptions derived from the underlying moral theories; and that they fail to accommodate the complexity and comprehensiveness of the processes involved in the making and implementing of ethical decisions. Many of these problems also have implications for the methodological domain. This paper offers an analysis of the difficulties, and makes a number of recommendations for future theory, research and practical applications, including: the need for training in moral philosophy; clarification of the status of Professional Codes in decisional models; the development of theoretically comprehensive prescriptive models; and the testing of these models in ways that do justice to their dimensional scope and theoretical complexity. (shrink)
As employees continue to lie, cheat, and steal from their employers, researchers have tried to help managers understand and possibly predict such deviant behavior. This study considers the specific employee misconduct of ethical rule breaking. Hirschi (1969) suggested that deviant behavior can be better understood by social bonding theory. The social bonding model includes four elements; attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. It is proposed that Hirschi's social bonding theory can be used to understand ethical rule breaking (...) by employees. Using a sample of 200 employees, the results indicate that the social bonding elements of attachment and involvement can be used to better understand the reported likelihood of ethical rule breaking of employees. Recommendations for better applying the social bonding model to ethical rule breaking are suggested. (shrink)
I attempt to sketch in general terms an alternative moral perspective that goes beyond the traditional normative theories, a moral perspective called ?contributivism?. This focuses on contribution: caring about one's contribution, I claim, lies at the centre of moral cncern. First I illustrate the need for a contribution-focussed moral theory, primarily by considering gratitude, the typical required response to altruism. Second, I point out some of the motivational resources of such a contribution-based view. I conclude by showing how focusing (...) on contributions can uncover neglected areas of moral significance, which both broaden our recognition of altruistic behavious, and raise questions concerning the moral centrality of altruism. (shrink)
We argue that though stakeholder theory has much to recommend it, particularly as a heuristic for thinking about business firmsproperly as involving the economic interests of other groups beyond those of the shareholders or other equity owners, the theory is limited by its focus on the interests of human participants in business enterprise. Stakeholder theory runs into intractable philosophicaldifficulty in providing credible ethical principles for business managers in dealing with some topics, such as the natural environment,that (...) do not directly involve human beings within a business firm or who engage in transactions with a firm. Corporate decision-makingmust include an appreciation of these ethical values even though they cannot be captured in stakeholder theory. (shrink)
The present study applied Ajzen's (1985) theory of planned behavior to the explanation of ethical decision making. Nurses in three hospitals were provided with scenarios that depicted inadequate patient care and asked if they would report health professionals responsible for the situation. Study results suggest that the theory of planned behavior can explain a significant amount of variation in the intent to report a colleague. Attitude toward performing the behavior explained a large portion of the variance; subjective (...) norms explained a moderate amount of the variance; and, perceived behavioral control added little to the explanation of variance. Implications for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
This article analyses current trends in and future expectations of nanotechnology and other key enabling technologies for security as well as dual use nanotechnology from the perspective of the ethical Just War Theory (JWT), interpreted as an instrument to increase the threshold for using armed force for solving conflicts. The aim is to investigate the relevance of the JWT to the ethical governance of research. The analysis gives rise to the following results. From the perspective of the (...) JWT, military research should be evaluated with different criteria than research for civil or civil security applications. From a technological perspective, the boundaries between technologies for civil and military applications are fuzzy. Therefore the JWT offers theoretical grounds for making clear distinctions between research for military, civil security and other applications that are not obvious from a purely technological perspective. Different actors bear responsibility for development of the technology than for resorting to armed force for solving conflicts or for use of weapons and military technologies in combat. Different criteria should be used for moral judgment of decisions made by each type of actor in each context. In addition to evaluation of potential consequences of future use of the weapons or military technologies under development, the JWT also prescribes ethical evaluation of the inherent intent and other foreseeable consequences of the development itself of new military technologies. (shrink)
Abstract: We argue that though stakeholder theory has much to recommend it, particularly as a heuristic for thinking about business firms properly as involving the economic interests of other groups beyond those of the shareholders or other equity owners, the theory is limited by its focus on the interests of human participants in business enterprise. Stakeholder theory runs into intractable philosophical difficulty in providing credible ethical principles for business managers in dealing with some topics, such as (...) the natural environment, that do not directly involve human beings within a business firm or who engage in transactions with a firm. Corporate decision-making must include an appreciation of these ethical values even though they cannot be captured in stakeholder theory. (shrink)
Attitudinal- and stress theory are used to investigate the effect of ethical climate on job outcomes. Responses from 208 service employees who work for a country health department were used to test a structural model that examines the process through which ethical climate (EC) affects turnover intention (TI). This study shows that the EC-TI relationship is fully mediated by role stress (RC), interpersonal conflict (IC), emotional exhaustion (EE), trust in supervisor (TS), and job satisfaction (JS). Results show (...) that EC reduces (RS) and increases TS. Lower stress levels result in lower EE, higher JS, and lower TI. Also, supervisor trust (TS) reduces IC and EE. The structural model predicts 53.9% of the variance of TI. (shrink)
This paper is a reply to Simon Blackburn's 'Is Objective Moral Justification Possible on a Quasi-realist Foundation?' Inquiry 42 (1999), pp. 213-28. Blackburn attempts to show how his version of non-cognitivism - quasi-realist projectivism - can evade the threat of ethical relativism, the thought that all ways of living are as ethically good as each other and every ethical judgment is as ethically true as any other. He further attempts to show that his position is superior in (...) this respect to, amongst other accounts, sensibility theory (or 'secondary quality' theory). According to Blackburn, sensibility theory succumbs easily to the relativistic challenge because it depends on some 'substantive' notion of truth. It is agreed with Blackburn that the threat of relativism is less of a threat to him than at first appears, although I think that it retains some menace, but not agreed that sensibility theorists cannot also counter the threat of relativism (although, again, ethical relativism retains some menace in the face of the sensibility theorist's reply). The point is that the threat of ethical relativism depends less on truth than Blackburn supposes. Thus sensibility theorists can counter ethical relativism in much the same way that quasi-realist projectivists can. (shrink)
We have two aims in this paper. The first is negative: to demonstrate the problems in Bernard Gert’s account of common morality, in particular as it applies to professional morality. The second is positive: to suggest a more satisfactory explanation of the moral basis of professional role morality, albeit one that is broadly consistent with Gert’s notion of common morality, but corrects and supplements Gert’s theory. The paper is in three sections. In the first, we sketch the main features (...) of Gert’s account of common morality in general. In the second, we outline Gert’s explanation of the source of professional moral rules and demonstrate its inadequacy. In the third section, we provide an account of our own collectivist needs-based view of the source of the role-moral obligations of many professional roles, including those of health care professionals. (shrink)
Abstract The article tries to inquire a third way in normative ethics between consequentialism or utilitarianism and deontology or Kantianism. To find such a third way in normative ethics, one has to analyze the elements of these classical theories and to look if they are justified. In this article it is argued that an adequate normative ethics has to contain the following five elements: (1) normative individualism, i. e., the view that in the last instance moral norms and values can (...) only be justified by reference to the individuals concerned, as its basis; (2) consideration of the individuals’ concerns and interests—aims, desires, needs, strivings—insofar as they have a justificatory function; (3) a pluralism of references of these concerns and hence of moral norms and values to all possible elements of actions; (4) the necessity of a principle of aggregation and weighing with regard to these concerns; (5) finally, as a central principle of aggregation and weighing, the principle of relative reference to self and others, operating as a generalizing meta-principle that guides the application of concrete principles and decisions. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-23 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9299-2 Authors Dietmar von der Pfordten, Georg-August University Göttingen, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 6, 37073, Göttingen, Germany Journal EthicalTheory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820. (shrink)
In his review of Bernard Williams' Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy , Hart eloquently formulated an apprehension that still haunts much of contemporary jurisprudence: if the moral 'I must' has to be 'seen as coming not from outside, but from what is most deeply inside us ? the fear is that this will not be enough'. I argue that this fear is the byproduct of the dualist outlook within which Hart—and a significant part of contemporary legal theory—is confined: (...) because of his bald naturalist premise, Hart could not conceive of moral objectivity except in terms presupposing an order of Reason resolutely distinct from the 'natural' world. This paper seeks to debunk this dualist outlook by engaging with the kind of 'non-bald' naturalism advocated in different ways by both McDowell and Blackburn. In considering contemporary efforts to draw a middle way between ethical scepticism and metaphysical rationalism, the paper draws on the pragmatic elements emerging from the confrontation between Habermas and Rawls. (shrink)
Moral Theory and Theorizing in Healthcare Ethics Content Type Journal Article Category Editorial Pages 365-368 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9291-x Authors Mike McNamee, College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea, SA28PP UK Thomas Schramme, Universität Hamburg, Philosophisches Seminar, Von-Melle-Park 6, 20146 Hamburg, Germany Journal EthicalTheory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 4.
In fairly recent times there has been an enormous growth of interest, especially from ethical theorists generally under the spell of Aristotle, in both the moral virtues and the central significance of the notion of a virtue for an adequate grasp of the character of moral life. In the light of this it may well appear a useful exercise to sketch in very broad terms how a virtue-theoretical account of moral life and the nature of our moral responses stands (...) in relation to other ethical views and to present the general outline of a case for regarding such an approach as preferable to others. In the first part of this article, then, I shall try to prepare the ground for a virtue-theoretical account by showing how a safe conceptual course needs to be steered between the Scylla of ethical realism and the Charybdis of non-cognitivism. In the second part, however, I shall endeavour to develop a more positive view of the way in which a virtue-theoretical approach may successfully steer this course. (shrink)
A critical issue facing the criminal justice system today is how best to promote ethical behavior by public prosecutors. The legal profession has left much of a prosecutor’s day-to-day activity unregulated, in favor of a general, catch-all admonition to “seek justice.” In this article the author argues that professional norms are truly functional only if those working with a given ethical framework recognize the system’s implicit dependence on character. A code of professional conduct in which this dependence is (...) not recognized is both contentless and corrupting. Building on the ethics of Aristotle and modern philosophers Alasdair MacIntyre and Bernard Williams, the author argues that virtue theory can help bridge the gaps in prosecutorial ethics where other forms of moral reasoning fail. The author analyzes three especially difficult ethical problems frequently confronted by prosecutors in the field. He demonstrates not only that the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Criminal Justice Standards fail to answer any of these complex questions, but also that future attempts to more closely regulate how prosecutors should act in any of these nuanced situations are unlikely to succeed. The author argues that honesty, fairness, courage, and prudence are the primary virtues that citizens have a right to expect of their public prosecutors. He then demonstrates how these four key virtues might provide important guidance to conscientious prosecutors striving to do what is right. The author concludes by offering several insights into how the field of virtue ethics might inform both the structure and organization of government law offices, and the manner in which individual prosecutors working within these offices might perceive and fulfill their professional roles. (shrink)
This article sketches descriptive and normative components of a theory of ethical value. The normative component, which receives the lion’s share of attention, is developed by adapting Laudan’s levels of scientific discourse. The resulting levels of ethical discourse can be critically addressed through the use of inductive inference, falsification, and causal inference. These techniques are likewise appropriate to the corresponding levels of scientific discourse.
In fairly recent times there has been an enormous growth of interest, especially from ethical theorists generally under the speIl of Aristotle, in both the moral virtues and the central significance of the notion of a virtue for an adequate grasp of the character of moral life. In the light of this it may weIl appear a useful exercise to sketch in very broad terms how a virtue-theoretical account of moral life and the nature of our moral responses stands (...) in relation to other ethical views and to present the general outline of a case for regarding such an approach as preferable to others. In the first part of this article, then, I tried to prepare the ground for a virtue-theoretical account by showing how a safe conceptual course needs to be steered between the Scylla of ethical realism and the Charybdis of non-cognitivism. In this second part, however, I shall endeavour to develop a more positive view of the way in which a virtue-theoretical approach may successfully steer this course. (shrink)
This paper intends to highlight the philosophical and ethical implications of cultural theory as initiated in the seventies by the British anthropologist, Mary Douglas. The first part will present cultural theory, mainly through her early works. We will particularly insist on the originality of this functionalist theory based on four interpersonal relationships patterns – defined according to grid and group dimensions – and their associated cultural biases, namely the egalitarian bias, the hierarchical, the insulated and the (...) individualist one. In the second part of our study, we will show that in each of these biases, people behave and perceive differently and we will concentrate on these differences regarding risk. Finally, we will focus on one essential implication of this theory, its conception of rationality. Indeed, cultural theory implies a framework of plural rationalities, which is of paramount importance if we consider its ethical consequences. We will try to lighten these and show how it might influence risk management. (shrink)
The study of morality continues to flourish in contemporary philosophy. As the chapters of this Companion illustrate, new and exciting work is being done on a wide range of topics from the objectivity of morality to the relationship between morality and religious, biological, and feminist concerns. Along with this vast amount of work has come a proliferation of technical terminology and competing positions. The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the terrain in contemporary ethics.
The contributions to this book expand the boundaries of thought relating to deontology. Together, they provide a major addition to the field of moral philosophy for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and academics.