According to Essentialism, an object’s properties divide into those that are essential and those that are accidental. While being human is commonly thought to be essential to Socrates, being a philosopher plausibly is not. We can motivate the distinction by appealing—as we just did—to examples. However, it is not obvious how best to characterize the notion of essential property, nor is it easy to give conclusive arguments for the essentiality of a given property. In this paper, I elaborate on these (...) issues and explore the way in which essential properties behave in relation to other related properties, like sufficient-for-existence properties and individual essences. (shrink)
Is an individual agent constitutive of or constituted by its social interactions? This question is typically not asked in the cognitive sciences, so strong is the consensus that only individual agents have constitutive efficacy. In this article we challenge this methodological solipsism and argue that interindividual relations and social context do not simply arise from the behavior of individual agents, but themselves enable and shape the individual agents on which they depend. For this, we define the (...) notion of autonomy as both a characteristic of individual agents and of social interaction processes. We then propose a number of ways in which interactional autonomy can influence individuals. Then we discuss recent work in modeling on the one hand and psychological investigations on the other that support and illustrate this claim. Finally, we discuss some implications for research on social and individual agency. (shrink)
Some instances of right and wrongdoing appear to be of a distinctly collective kind. When, for example, one group commits genocide against another, the genocide is collective in the sense that the wrongness of genocide seems morally distinct from the aggregation of individual murders that make up the genocide. The problem, which I refer to as the problem of collective wrongs, is that it is unclear how to assign blame for distinctly collective wrongdoing to individual contributors when none (...) of those individual contributors is guilty of the wrongdoing in question. I offer Christopher Kutz’s Complicity Principle as an attractive starting point for solving the problem, and then argue that the principle ought to be expanded to include a broader and more appropriate range of cases. The view I ultimately defend is that individuals are blameworthy for collective harms insofar as they knowingly participate in those harms, and that said individuals remain blameworthy regardless of whether they succeed in making a causal contribution to those harms. (shrink)
Recent work in the ethics of war has done much to challenge the collectivism of the convention-based, Walzerian just war theory. In doing so, it raises the question of when it is permissible for soldiers to resort to force. This article considers this issue and, in doing so, argues that the rejection of collectivism in just war should go further still. More specifically, it defends the ‘Individual-Centric Approach’ to the deep morality of war, which asserts that the justifiability of (...) an individual’s contribution to the war, rather than the justifiability of the war more generally, determines the moral acceptability of their participation. It then goes on to present five implications of the Individual-Centric Approach, including for individual liability to attack in war. (shrink)
Investigation of neural and cognitive processes underlying individual variation in moral preferences is underway, with notable similarities emerging between moral- and risk-based decision-making. Here we specifically assessed moral distributive justice preferences and non-moral financial gambling preferences in the same individuals, and report an association between these seemingly disparate forms of decision-making. Moreover, we find this association between distributive justice and risky decision-making exists primarily when the latter is assessed with the Iowa Gambling Task. These findings are consistent with neuroimaging (...) studies of brain function during moral and risky decision-making. This research also constitutes the first replication of a novel experimental measure of distributive justice decision-making, for which individual variation in performance was found. Further examination of decision-making processes across different contexts may lead to an improved understanding of the factors affecting moral behaviour. (shrink)
In a note from 1881 (KSA 9, 11 ) Nietzsche talks about the “infinitely small moment” as “the highest reality and truth” for the individual who tries to contrast the “uniformity of sensations” and to affirm his “idiosyncratic taste”. In doing so, he gives to the briefest of moments a leading role, since one can see it as the reference point of a dialectic between man and society. In fact, the single moment reveals the unavoidable becoming even of human (...) taste, and shows that any metaphysics of substances stating the existence of an individual subject must be rejected. Moreover, in this note Nietzsche states some ideas on the herd instinct he’ll deal with in The Gay Science, and considers the value of the anthropology established by the science, since it determines “how man – and NOT the individual ‒ experiences things and himself”. In doing so, Nietzsche starts thinking about the relationship between the plane of the individual and the wider one of the society, in which one can find the standardized “normal taste” useful for human beings’ preservation. In my paper I’ll carry out these brief sketches, and study both the subjects of this relationship. In particular, I’ll focus on the dialectic between “small” and “big” on the plane of the social community, showing the deep connections with Nietzsche’s theory of knowledge and his notion of truth. (shrink)
Thomas Pogge claims “that, by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably cause the monumental suffering of global poverty, we are harming the global poor – or, to put it more escriptively, we are active participants in the largest, though not the gravest, crime against humanity ever committed.” In other words, he claims that by upholding certain international arrangements we are violating our strong negative duties not to harm, and not just some (perhaps much weaker) positive duties (...) to help. I shall argue that even if Pogge were correct in claiming that certain rich states or at least the rich states collectively violate certain negative duties towards the poor and harm the poor, he is far too hasty in concluding that “we,” the citizens of those states, are thus harming the global poor or violating our negative duties towards them. In fact, his conclusion can be shown to be wrong not least of all in the light of some of his own assumptions about collective responsibility, the enforceability of human rights, and terrorism. In addition, I will also argue that his view that we share responsibility for the acts of our political “representatives,” who allegedly act “on our behalf,” is unwarranted. (shrink)
Individuals are a prominent part of the biological world. Although biologists and philosophers of biology draw freely on the concept of an individual in articulating both widely accepted and more controversial claims, there has been little explicit work devoted to the biological notion of an individual itself. How should we think about biological individuals? What are the roles that biological individuals play in processes such as natural selection (are genes and groups also units of selection?), speciation (are species (...) individuals?), and organismic development (do genomes code for organisms)? Much of our discussion here will focus on organisms as a central kind of biological individual, and that discussion will raise broader questions about the nature of the biological world, for example, about its complexity, its organization, and its relation to human thought. (shrink)
The concept of individual autonomy is one of the most frequently utilized--and perhaps least understood--terms of current moral, political, and legal debate. The first anthology devoted entirely to this philosophical concept, The Inner Citadel includes both extensive discussions of autonomy itself and theoretical applications of autonomy to various areas of philosophical inquiry. John Christman has assembled essays, many appearing in print for the first time, by such eminent philosophers as Gerald Dworkin, Joel Feinberg, Harry Frankfurt, and David A. J. (...) Richards. Together, these essays provide the necessary foundation for the myriad debates and controversies in areas such as bioethics, feminism, and paternalism whose resolution turns on the nature and value of individual autonomy. As the idea of autonomy is central to such a wide range of philosophical issues and impinges on other disciplines as well, The Inner Citadel will be essential for courses in moral, political, social, and legal philosophy, as well as a valuable resource for students of law, political science, and psychology. (shrink)
The concept of the individual and his/her motivations is a bedrock of philosophy. All strands of thought at heart contain to a particular theory of the individual. Economics, though, is guilty of taking this hugely important concept without questioning how we theorize it. This superb book remedies this oversight. The new approach put forward by Davies is to pay more attention to what moral philosophy may offer us in the study of personal identity, self consciousness and will. This (...) crosses the traditional boundaries of economics and will shed new light on the distinction between positive and normative analysis in economics. With both heterodox and orthodox economics receiving a thorough analysis from Davies, this book is at once inclusive and revealing. (shrink)
Transcendent Individual is an anthropological account of individual creativity and its conscious engagement in society. Drawing widely on ethnographic and theoretic material, and bringing into debate a range of voices--Nietzsche, Wilde and Forster, Bateson and Gerald Edelman, George Steiner, Richard Rorty and John Berger, Edmund Leach and Anthony Cohen--the book approaches individuality in terms of a range of issues: biological integrity, consciousness, agency, democracy, discourse, knowledge, consumerism, globalism and play.
Several philosophers claim that the greenhouse gas emissions from actions like a Sunday drive are so miniscule that they will make no difference whatsoever with regard to anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) and its expected harms. This paper argues that this claim of individual causal inefficacy is false. First, if AGCC is not reducible at least in part to ordinary actions, then the cause would have to be a metaphysically odd emergent entity. Second, a plausible (dis-)utility calculation reveals that (...) such actions have a not-insignificant amount of expected harm. One upshot is that the near-exclusive focus in the literature on AGCC as a collective action problem is too restricted. The paper also provides several moral psychological explanations of why it is so difficult to comprehend individual responsibility with regard to global phenomena, including a reappraisal of Thomas Nagel’s view of the absurd. (shrink)
Much research in the last two decades has demonstrated that human responses deviate from the performance deemed normative according to various models of decision making and rational judgment (e.g., the basic axioms of utility theory). This gap between the normative and the descriptive can be interpreted as indicating systematic irrationalities in human cognition. However, four alternative interpretations preserve the assumption that human behavior and cognition is largely rational. These posit that the gap is due to (1) performance errors, (2) computational (...) limitations, (3) the wrong norm being applied by the experimenter, and (4) a different construal of the task by the subject. In the debates about the viability of these alternative explanations, attention has been focused too narrowly on the modal response. In a series of experiments involving most of the classic tasks in the heuristics and biases literature, we have examined the implications of individual differences in performance for each of the four explanations of the normative/descriptive gap. Performance errors are a minor factor in the gap; computational limitations underlie non-normative responding on several tasks, particularly those that involve some type of cognitive decontextualization. Unexpected patterns of covariance can suggest when the wrong norm is being applied to a task or when an alternative construal of the task should be considered appropriate. Key Words: biases; descriptive models; heuristics; individual differences; normative models; rationality; reasoning. (shrink)
The empirical advances the target article makes over Atran (1990) tend not so much to enrich our knowledge of the “folk taxonomic” hierarchy as to militate against the idea of one. Folk-biological domain-specific universals are to be found not in “taxonomic” kind-kind subordination relations, but in the relation of individual organisms to low ranking kinds and in the peculiarities of those kinds.
Nursing as a profession has a social mandate to contribute to the good of society through knowledge-based practice. Knowledge is built upon theories, and theories, together with their philosophical bases and disciplinary goals, are the guiding frameworks for practice. This article explores a philosophical perspective of nursing's social mandate, the disciplinary goals for the good of the individual and society, and one approach for translating knowledge into practice through the use of a middle-range theory. It is anticipated that the (...) integration of the philosophical perspective and model into nursing practice will strengthen the philosophy, disciplinary goal, theory, and practice links and expand knowledge within the discipline. With the focus on humanization, we propose that nursing knowledge for social good will embrace a synthesis of the individual and the common good. This approach converges vital and agency needs described by Hamilton and the primacy of maintaining the heritage of the good within the human species as outlined by Maritain. Further, by embedding knowledge development in a changing social and health care context, nursing focuses on the goals of clinical reasoning and action. McCubbin and Patterson's Double ABCX Model of Family Adaptation was used as an example of a theory that can guide practice at the community and global level. Using the theory-practice link as a foundation, the Double ABCX model provides practising nurses with one approach to meet the needs of individuals and society. The integration of theory into nursing practice provides a guide to achieve nursing's disciplinary goals of promoting health and preventing illness across the globe. When nursing goals are directed at the synthesis of the good of the individual and society, nursing's social and moral mandate may be achieved. (shrink)
T HE TOPIC OF THIS PAPER IS MARX’S ACCOUNT of the individual and society, and its roots in Hegel’s philosophy. In outline Marx’s views on this theme are well known, and so too is their connection with the theme of alienation which I shall describe. The Hegelian roots of these ideas are less well documented. Moreover, knowledge of the Hegelian context helps to clarify the philosophical..
It seems impossible for a human being not to have some point of view concerning nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) welfare. Many people make decisions about how humans are permitted to treat animals using speciesist criteria, basing their decisions on an individual's species membership rather than on that animal's individual characteristics. Although speciesism provides a convenient way for making difficult decisions about who should be used in different types of research, we argue that such decisions should rely on an (...) analysis of individual characteristics and should not be based merely on species membership. We do not argue that the concept of species is never useful or important. To make our points, we present a conversation among a skeptic, an agnostic, and a proponent of the view that our moral obligations to an animal must be based on an analysis of that individual's characteristics. In the course of the discussion, concepts such as personhood, consciousness, cognitive ability, harm, and pain are presented, because one's understanding of these concepts informs his or her ethical decisions about the use of animals by humans. (shrink)
This paper is a survey of the positive and negative aspects of cannabis use from the point of view of the individual on one hand and from the point of view of the society on the other hand. Health, social, and political motives are all discussed, and the best method of harm reduction is analysed. The upshot is that zero tolerance policy is obsolete, and that most individuals would be better off using cannabis rather than other drugs.
Recent work by Joshua Knobe indicates that people’s intuition about whether an action was intentional depends on whether the outcome is good or bad. This paper argues that part of the explanation for this effect is that there are stable individual differences in how ‘intentional’ is interpreted. That is, in Knobe’s cases, different people interpret the term in different ways. This interpretive diversity of ‘intentional’ opens up a new avenue to help explain Knobe’s results. Furthermore, the paper argues that (...) the use of intuitions in philosophy is complicated by fact that there are robust individual differences in intuitions about matters of philosophical concern. (shrink)
As a moral foundation for vegetarianism and other consumer choices, act consequentialism can be appealing. When we justify our consumer and dietary choices this way, however, we face the problem that our individual actions rarely actually precipitate more just agricultural and economic practices. This threshold or individual impotence problem engaged by consequentialist vegetarians and their critics extends to morally motivated consumer decision-making more generally, anywhere a lag persists between individual moral actions taken and systemic moral progress made. (...) Regan and others press just this point against Singer's utilitarian basis for vegetarianism; recently Chartier criticizes act-consequentialist vegetarianism by identifying many factors weakening the connection between individual meat purchases and changes in animal production. While such factors are relevant to act-consequentialist moral reasoning, I argue, they need not defeat the act-consequentialist case for vegetarianism and consumer ethics. This is shown by offering a probabilistic account of the threshold issue and discussing the positive and negative role-modelling effects of our morally motivated dietary and consumer choices. (shrink)
Tyler Burge has argued that a necessary condition for individual's having many of the thoughts he has is that he bear certain relations to other language users. Burge's conclusion is based on a thought experiment in which an individual's social relations are imagined, counterfactually, to differ from how they are actually. The result is that it seems, counterfactually, the individual cannot be attributed many of the thoughts he can be actually. In the article, an alternative interpretation of (...) Burge's thought experiment is offered on which the intuitions Burge evokes can be accepted while his conclusion about the social character of thought is denied. The alternative interpretation given, it is then argued that it is preferable to Burge's. (shrink)
It is both an ideal and an assumption of traditional conceptions of justice for liberal democracies that citizens are autonomous, self-governing persons. Yet standard accounts of the self and of self-government at work in such theories are hotly disputed and often roundly criticized in most of their guises. John Christman offers a sustained critical analysis of both the idea of the 'self' and of autonomy as these ideas function in political theory, offering interpretations of these ideas which avoid such disputes (...) and withstand such criticisms. Christman's model of individual autonomy takes into account the socially constructed nature of persons and their complex cultural and social identities, and he shows how this model can provide a foundation for principles of justice for complex democracies marked by radical difference among citizens. His book will interest a wide range of readers in philosophy, politics, and the social sciences. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that there are in fact external relations in Russell’s sense. The level at which we are forced to acknowledge them is, however, not the level of relations between concrete individual objects. All relations of this kind, which I will call “inter-individual” relations, can be construed as supervenient on the monadic properties of their terms. But if we pursue our ontological analysis a little bit deeper and consider the internal structure of a concrete (...) class='Hi'>individual, then we will inevitably find irreducible external relations. I mean for example the relation of instantiation (in the frame of a realist’s theory) or that of concurrence (in the frame of a trope theory). I will show that such “intra-individual” relations – the relations that make up the internal structure of a concrete individual out of more primitive metaphysical “building blocks” like universals or tropes – could not (even in principle) be construed as supervenient. (shrink)
The significance of Durkheim's lifelong concern with the development of individualism in society is undeniable. Beginning with his critique of the pathological egoistic individualism of Herbert Spencer and the English utilitarians, Durheim's analysis of individualism culminates in his notion of the "cult of the individual". Originally conceptualized as neither a true social bond nor a possible basis of social solidarity, individualism is eventually seen by Durkheim as the sole surviving form of mechanical solidarity in modern society. In attempting to (...) explain the moral basis of modern society, Durkheim struggles with the question, what is the relationship between the moral specialization or diversity associated with organic solidarity and the morality of the collective conscience, which becomes focused on the "cult of the individual"? Tracing the evolution of Durkheim's thought reveals his shift from a structural to an idealist orientation as well as his proposals for social reform in modern society. (shrink)
We perceive colour, shape, sound and touch 'bound together' in a single experience. The following arguments about this binding phenomenon are raised: (1) The individual signals passing from neurone to neurone are not bound together, whether as elements of information or physically. (2) Within a single cell, binding in terms of bringing together of information is potentially feasible. A physical substrate may also be available. (3) It is therefore proposed that a bound conscious experience must be a property of (...) an individual cell, not of a group of cells. Since it is unlikely that one specific neurone is conscious, it is suggested that every neurone has a version of our consciousness, or at least some form of sentience. However absurd this may seem it appears to be consistent with the available evidence; arguably the only explanation that is. It probably does not alter the way we should expect to experience the world, but may help to explain the ways we seem to differ from digital computers and some of the paradoxes seen in mental illness. It predicts non-digital features of intracellular computation, for which there is already evidence, and which should be open to further experimental exploration. The arguments given may well prove flawed or the conclusion biologically or physically untenable, but the idea is raised for discussion not least because a formal demonstration that it is invalid may help to identify more fruitful avenues. (shrink)
Sometimes themes can be found in common across very different systems in which change occurs. Imre Lakatos developed a theory of change in science, and one involving entities visible at different levels. There are theories defended at a particular time, and there are also research programs, larger units that bundle together a sequence of related theories and within which many scientists may work. Research programs are competing higher-level units within a scientific field. Scientific change involves change within research programs, and (...) change in the ensemble of research programs present at a time, where some will be growing, some shrinking, some progressing, some degenerating. These are also themes in biological evolution. Recent biology has often found itself dealing with the relation between change at a level of "collectives" – such as organisms like us – and change at a lower level – the level of cells, genes, and other evolving parts. This work is continuous with an older discussion, one that arose when biological evolution was no more than a vague speculation, round the beginning of the 19th century. What is the living individual? What is the basic unit of life or living organization? Questions like this were pursued by Goethe, by Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles, and many others. Initially it was plants, especially, that were seen to raise these problems, and then newly described marine animals with strange life cycles. The discussion was influenced by the rise of the cell theory in the early 19th century, but some writers looked for individuals well below the level of the cell. (shrink)
In his well-known Discourse on Metaphysics , Leibniz puts individual substance at the basis of metaphysical building. In so doing, he connects himself to a venerable tradition. His theory of individual concept, however, breaks with another idea of the same tradition, that no account of the individual as such can be given. Contrary to what has been commonly accepted, Leibniz’s intuitions are not the mere result of the transcription of subject-predicate logic, nor of the uncritical persistence of (...) some old metaphysical assumptions. They grow, instead, from an unprejudiced inquiry about our basic ontological framework, where logic of truth, linguistic analysis, and phenomenological experience of the mind’s life are tightly interwoven. Leibniz’s struggle for a concept capable of grasping concrete individuals as such is pursued in an age of great paradigm changes – from the Scholastic background to Hobbes’s nominalism to the Cartesian ‘way of ideas’ or Spinoza’s substance metaphysics – when the relationships among words, ideas and things are intensively discussed and wholly reshaped. This is the context where the genesis and significance of Leibniz’s theory of ‘complete being’ and its concept are reconstrued. The result is a fresh look at some of the most perplexing issues in Leibniz scholarship, like his ideas about individual identity and the thesis that all its properties are essential to an individual. The questions Leibniz faces, and to which his theory of individual substance aims to answer, are yet, to a large extent, those of contemporary metaphysics: how to trace a categorial framework? How to distinguish concrete and abstract items? What is the metaphysical basis of linguistic predication? How is trans-temporal sameness assured? How to make sense of essential attributions? In this ontological framework Leibniz’s further questions about the destiny of human individuals and their history are spelt out. Maybe his answers also have something to tell us. This book is aimed at all who are interested in Leibniz’s philosophy, history of early modern philosophy and metaphysical issues in their historical development. (shrink)
Abstract: Focusing on early child pretend play from the perspective of developmental psychology, this article puts forward and presents evidence for two claims. First, such play constitutes an area of remarkable individual intentionality of second-order intentionality (or 'theory of mind'): in pretence with others, young children grasp the basic intentional structure of pretending as a non-serious fictional form of action. Second, early social pretend play embodies shared or collective we-intentionality. Pretending with others is one of the ontogenetically primary instances (...) of truly cooperative actions. And it is a, perhaps the, primordial form of cooperative action with rudimentary rule-governed, institutional structure: in joint pretence games, children are aware that objects collectively get assigned fictional status, 'count as' something, and that this creates a normative space of warranted moves in the game. Developmentally, pretend play might even be a cradle for institutional phenomena more generally. (shrink)
: When health care workers migrate from poor countries to rich countries, they are exercising an important human right and helping rich countries fulfill obligations of social justice. They are also, however, creating problems of social justice in the countries they leave. Solving these problems requires balancing social needs against individual rights and studying the relationship of social justice to international justice.
In Plato’s Symposium, the priestess Diotima, whom Socrates introduces as an expert in love, describes how the lover who would advance rightly in erotics would ascend from loving a particular beautiful body and individual to loving Beauty itself. This hierarchy is conventionally referred to as Plato’s scala amoris or ‘ladder of love’, for the reason that the uppermost form of love cannot be reached without having initially stepped on the first rung of the ladder, which is the physical attraction (...) to a beautiful body or individual. A popular interpretation of Plato’s or Diotima’s description of this ascent is that the lover is supposed to give up or abandon all the previous objects or individuals as he moves upward. In other words, previous individuals are merely the first rung of the ladder; and when the lover has climbed to higher stages of the ladder, he should kick the earlier rung, and them, away. I would like to try to argue that this popular interpretation is mistaken; that Plato does not believe that each previous stage in the ascent is left behind as the lover moves to a higher stage. Far from it, in fact; not only do I not believe that Plato wants the lover to abandon the individuals he loves, but I suggest that what his ascent does is move the lover to love previous individuals in a richer, fuller and more appropriate sense. I approach this in two parts, the second of which I hope can be seen to exemplify the first. In part one I concern myself with a close analysis of the relevant bits of text, while in part two, I move on to examine Plato’s love of Socrates. Here I hope to try to show that Plato, while going on – having presumably ascended up past the lower rungs of the ladder – to produce great works of virtue and beauty, never left the individual Socrates behind. (shrink)
Amartya Sen has recently suggested that certain issues which arise in the application of the capability approach can be seen in terms of social choice. This article explores certain connections and tensions between Kenneth Arrow's celebrated discussion of social choice and the capability approach while focusing on one central link: pluralism. Given the variety of values people hold, substantive issues which arise in the application of the capability approach can be seen as social choice problems. Seeing them in this way (...) helps to explain some of Sen's suggestions about applying the approach in the light of an analogue of Arrow's theorem. However, it also poses a potential problem because of the focus on preferences in social choice theory, given that the capability approach is motivated in part by problems which `adaptive preferences' raise for `utility'-based views. In this article, it is argued that Sen's writings about public reasoning allow him to address this problem to some degree. The reading underlying this argument clarifies issues about the relationship between the individual and society in his approach. It also illuminates the extent of Sen's debt to John Rawls's writings on `public reason', while clarifying some points on which Sen and Rawls diverge. Key Words: social choice capability welfare democracy. (shrink)
This paper introduces a new family of cases where agents are jointly morally responsible for outcomes over which they have no individual control, a family that resists standard ways of understanding outcome responsibility. First, the agents in these cases do not individually facilitate the outcomes and would not seem individually responsible for them if the other agents were replaced by non-agential causes. This undermines attempts to understand joint responsibility as overlapping individual responsibility; the responsibility in question is essentially (...) joint. Second, the agents involved in these cases are not aware of each other's existence and do not form a social group. This undermines attempts to understand joint responsibility in terms of actual or possible joint action or joint intentions, or in terms of other social ties. Instead, it is argued that intuitions about joint responsibility are best understood given the Explanation Hypothesis, according to which a group of agents are seen as jointly responsible for outcomes that are suitably explained by their motivational structures: something bad happened because they didn’t care enough; something good happened because their dedication was extraordinary. One important consequence of the proposed account is that responsibility for outcomes of collective action is a deeply normative matter. (shrink)
This paper offers an account of how individuals act as agents when we employ a narrative approach to explaining their personal identities. It applies Korsgaard's idea of a "reflective structure of consciousness" to provide foundations for a richer account of the individual economic agent, and uses this to explain and distinguish the concepts of personal identity, individual identity, and social identity. The paper argues that individuals' personal identities may be in conflict with their socially constructed individual identities. (...) Individuals' social identities are represented as a link between personal identity and individual identity. The overall framework is proposed as an alternative to the atomistic individual conception and a contribution to the socially embedded individual conception. (shrink)
Critics of liberalism have argued that liberal individualismmisdescribes persons in ignoring the degree to which they aredependent on their communities. Indeed, they argue that personsare essentially socially constituted. In this paper, however, Iprovide two arguments – the first concerning communitariandescriptive claims about persons, our society, and the communitarian ideal society, and the second regarding thecommunitarian view of individual autonomy – that the communitariantheory of Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Michael Sandel,relies on individuals either being independent from theircommunities or having (...) a community-independent desire. Thisis indicative of a deep contradiction in communitarian thought. (shrink)
This study explores the impact of both individual ethics (IE) and organizational ethics (OE) on ethical intention (EI). Ethical intention, or the individual’s intention to engage in ethical behavior, is useful as a dependent variable because it relates to behavior which can be an expression of values, but also is influenced by organizational and societal variables. The focus is on EI in international business decision-making, since the international context provides great latitude in making ethical decisions. Results demonstrate that (...) both IE and OE influence EI. Ethical congruence is also discussed as a positive influence. Younger managers are more influenced by OE than older managers. The findings call for creating governance mechanisms to enhance ethical congruence, thereby increasing the likelihood of managers making ethical choices in organizational decision-making. (shrink)
The essay discusses the philosopher and sociologist Georg Simmel’s theorizing about the individual. Whereas it is typically within the context of the modern metropolis and the mature money economy that Simmel’s ideas have been discussed in the secondary literature, I render those ideas in another light by addressing the ontological and existential issues crucial to his conception of the individual. In Simmel, the individual is divided between the “what” and the “who,” between the qualities which make one (...) something individual and one’s non-repeatable and finite existence which makes one someone singular. I argue that whereas the first dimension can be understood sociologically, in terms of social relations, the latter is not accessible to sociology as such, but must be treated philosophically. Therefore, if we wish to address this duality that lies at the heart of individuality, a “philosophical turn” for sociology is called for. (shrink)
There is a clear tendency in contemporary political/legal thought to limit agency to individual agents, thereby denying the existence and relevance of collective moral agency in general, and corporate agency in particular. This tendency is ultimately rooted in two particular forms of individualism – methodological and fictive (abstract) – which have their source in the Enlightenment. Furthermore, the dominant notion of moral agency owes a lot to Kant whose moral/legal philosophy is grounded exclusively on abstract reason and personal autonomy, (...) to the detriment of a due recognition of the socio-historical grounds of moral social conduct.I shall argue that an adequate theory of responsibility is needed, which does not only take into account individual responsibility, but also collective and corporate responsibility, capable of taking into consideration society and its problems. Furthermore, corporations are consciously and carefully structured organisations with different levels of management and have clearly defined aims and objectives, a central feature upon which I shall be focussing in this paper. (shrink)
I have recently argued that origin essentialism regarding individual organisms entails that natural selection does not explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do. This paper defends this and related theses against Mohan Matthen's recent objections.
It is a commonplace in liberal circles that individual persons have a right to individual autonomy or self-determination. Each mentally competent adult has a right to be at liberty to live and shape their own life in accordance with their own view about what makes for a good life, free from undue coercion or interference by others, so long as they do not harm others. In the words of John Stuart Mill, mentally-competent persons should have the liberty of (...) “framing the plan of our life to suit our own character, of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow, without impediment from our fellow creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they may think our conduct foolish, perverse or wrong”. (shrink)
Although interest in business ethics has rapidly increased, little attention has been drawn to the relationship between ethics and sexual harassment. While most companies have addressed the problem of sexual harassment at the organizational level with corporate codes of ethics or sexual harassment policies, no research has examined the ethical ideology of individual employees. This study investigates the relationship between the ethical ideology of individual employees and their ability to identify social-sexual behaviors in superior-subordinate interactions. The results indicate (...) that ethical ideology does have an effect on employees' ability to identify verbal sexually harassing behaviors. This effect, however, is not demonstrated on nonverbal sexually harassing behaviors. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the individual manager making difficult decisions within the context of the organization in which he or she is a member. It proposes a method for examining the interplay of individual and corporate value systems, offering a value congruence model. Hypotheses are generated concerning the varying nature of the value conflicts faced by managers. These are then evaluated based upon interview data from a cross-section of managers in two organizations. The impact of differing organizational value (...) systems is discussed, as well as the implications of the study for research in this area. (shrink)
I argue that individuals may be as problematic political agents as groups are. In doing so, I draw on theory from economics, philosophy, and computer science and evidence from psychology, neuroscience, and biology. If successful, this argument undermines agency-based justifications for embracing strong notions of individual rights while rejecting the possibility of similar rights for groups. For concreteness, I critique these mistaken views by rebutting arguments given by Chandran Kukathas in his article `Are There Any Cultural Rights?' that groups (...) lack the temporal coherence, political independence, and indivisibility of individuals. I also show how formal critiques of group agency from social science (in particular, Arrow's Impossibility Theorem) can be applied as reasonably to individuals as groups. Because these symmetries between groups and individuals undermine common implicit assumptions in political philosophy, I argue that they may have broader implications for liberal political theory, as they emphasize the importance of intrapersonal justice. Key Words: moral individualism • group rights • social choice theory • liberalism • communitarianism • behavioral economics. (shrink)
A wide range of ecological and evolutionary models predict variety in phenotype or behavior when a population is at equilibrium. This heterogeneity can be realized in different ways. For example, it can be realized through a complex population of individuals exhibiting different simple behaviors, or through a simple population of individuals exhibiting complex, varying behaviors. In some theoretical frameworks these different realizations are treated as equivalent, but natural selection distinguishes between these two alternatives in subtle ways. By investigating an increasingly (...) complex series of models, from a simple fluctuating selection model up to a finite population hawk/dove game, we explore the selective pressures which discriminate between pure strategists, mixed at the population level, and individual mixed strategists. Our analysis reveals some important limitations to the ESS framework often employed to investigate the evolution of complex behavior. (shrink)
No provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been more contentious than the so-called “individual mandate,” the constitutionality of which is now before several appellate courts. Critics claim that the mandate represents an unprecedented attempt by the federal government to compel individual action. Yet, states frequently employ similar mandates to protect the public's health. These public health mandates have also often aroused deep opposition. This essay situates PPACA's mandate, and the opposition to it, in (...) that broader context. The article reviews the arguments that public health's population perspective provides in support of mandates, as well as the reasons why mandates often ignite intense legal and political opposition. Most importantly, by holding individuals accountable for population-based problems, mandates may undercut the public health arguments that justify them. The article concludes by arguing that public health policymakers need to know more about the unintended political and legal costs of mandates. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide support for the view that individual concepts are basic to natural language semantics. First, the use of constant individual concepts allows us to maintain Kripke’s view of proper names as nondescriptional rigid designators in the face of problems created by so-called “empty names.” And second, the distinction between constant and variable individual concepts can function in an analysis of the specific-nonspecific distinction in indefinite..
Classical thinking on rationality regards it as an all-or-nothing affair. It thus fails to account for the fact that institutions are powerful social factors that frame the contexts within which rational agents supposedly exercise their ability to choose. This poses the classic dilemma: should social explanation refer to individual decisions or to institutions? Wettersten skillfully criticizes some of the most advanced solutions to it, and attempts to formulate a better explanatory unit for the social sciences: the partially rational (...) class='Hi'>individual. Since the partially rational individual is also only partially an individual,Wettersten's methodological reconciliation between individualism and holism seems to have some ontological implications too, ones that he seems reluctant to embrace. His book is nevertheless an interesting contribution to the controversy regarding the limits to the explanatory power of social theories. (shrink)
The issue of knowing what it means for a group to have collective beliefs is being discussed more and more in contemporary philosophy of the social sciences and philosophy of mind. Margaret Gilberts reconsideration of Durkheims viewpoint in the framework of the plural subjects account is one of the most famous. This has implications in the history and the sociology of scienceas well asin the history and sociology of philosophyalthough Gilbert only outlined them in the former fields and said nothing (...) about the latter. Symmetrically but independently, a historian of science, Mara Beller, has recently challenged Kuhns conception of the role of consensus in sciences in a brilliant analysis by carefully studying the history of Copenhagen School of Quantum Mechanics. Not only does she show the role of disagreement and controversies (doubting whether there was any collective belief characteristic in this group of physicists), but she even shakes up the very idea of individual beliefs. Each scientist (Heisenberg, Bohr, etc.) could be seen as divided into several selves. This paper contends that these two conceptions open important new horizons in several domains, especially if they are linked together. The paper assesses this claim in the light of empirical examples like the Vienna Circle, Copenhagen School, and, eventually, Cartesian philosophy. Key Words: plural subject polyphony collective briefs Cartesian argumentation. (shrink)
Moral duties concerning climate change mitigation are – for good reasons – conventionally construed as duties of institutional agents, usually states. Yet, in both scholarly debate and political discourse, it has occasionally been argued that the moral duties lie not only with states and institutional agents, but also with individual citizens. This argument has been made with regard to mitigation efforts, especially those reducing greenhouse gases. This paper focuses on the question of whether individuals in industrialized countries have duties (...) to reduce their individual carbon footprint. To this end it will examine three kinds of arguments that have been brought forward against individuals having such duties: the view that individual emissions cause no harm; the view that individual mitigation efforts would have no morally significant effect; and the view that lifestyle changes would be overly-demanding. The paper shows how all three arguments fail to convince. While collective endeavours may be most efficient and effective in bringing about significant changes, there are still good reasons to contribute individually to reducing emission. After all, for most people the choice is between reducing one’s individual emissions and not doing anything. The author hopes this paper shows that one should not opt for the latter. (shrink)
The necessity for considering individual values when attempting to institutionalize ethics is discussed. Techniques for individual values examination are outlined in the context of their organizational application. Suggestions are made concerning possible mechanisms through which organizations can encourage individual values awareness and concluding remarks emphasize the importance of managerial commitment to the overall effort.
Where does the mind begin and end? Robert Wilson establishes the foundations for the view that the mind extends beyond the boundary of the individual. He blends traditional philosophical analysis, cognitive science, and the history of psychology and the human sciences. Wilson then develops novel accounts of mental representation and consciousness, discussing a range of other issues, such as nativism and the idea of group minds. Boundaries of the Mind re-evaluates the place of the individual in the cognitive, (...) biological and social sciences (what Wilson calls the fragile sciences) with an emphasis on cognition. The book will appeal to a broad range of professionals and students in philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and the history of the behavioral and human sciences. Robert A. Wilson is professor of philosophy at the University of Alberta. He is author or editor of five other books, including the award-winning The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MIT Press, 1999). (shrink)
This paper develops the notion of a situated part structure and applies it to the semantics of the modifiers 'whole' and 'individual'. It argues that the ambiguity of 'whole' should be traced to two different conceptions of part structures of objects being at play: one according to which the parts of an objects are just the material parts and another, Aristotelian conception according to which the parts of an object include properties of form.
Theories of intergenerational obligations usually take the shape of theories of distributive (social) justice. The complexities involved in intergenerational obligations force theorists to simplify. In this article I unpack two popular simplifications: the inevitability of future generations, and the Hardinesque assumption that future individuals are a burden on society but a benefit to parents. The first assumption obscures the fact that future generations consist of individuals whose existence can be a matter of voluntary choice, implying that there are individuals who (...) are responsible and accountable for that choice and for its consequences. The second assumption ignores the fact that the benefits and burdens of future individuals are complex, and different for different “beneficiaries” or “victims.” Introducing individual responsibility for procreation as a (crucially) relevant variable, and allowing a more sophisticated understanding of the impact of new individuals, generates grounds to prioritize the individual’s interest in responsibility for (creating and equipping) future individuals over any collective intergenerational obligation. I illustrate this by introducing a series of moral duties that take precedence over, and perhaps even void, possible collective redistributive duties. (shrink)
Humans hunt and kill many different species of animals, but whales are our biggest prey. In the North Atlantic, a male long-ﬁ nned pilot whale (Globiceph- ala melaena), a large relative of the dolphins, can grow as large as 6.5 meters and weigh as much as 2.5 tons. As whales go, these are not particularly large, but there are more than 750,000 pilot whales in the North Atlantic, traveling in groups, “pods,” that range from just a few individuals to a (...) thousand or more. Each pod is led by an individual known as the “pilot,” who appears to set the course of travel for the rest of the group. This pilot is both an asset and a weakness to the pod. The average pilot whale will yield about a half ton of meat and blubber, and North Atlantic societies including Ireland, Iceland, and the Shetlands used to manipulate the pilot to drive the entire pod ashore. In the Faroe Islands, a group of 18 grassy rocks due north of Scotland, pilot whale hunts have continued for the last 1200 years, at least. The permanent residents of these islands, the Faroese, previously killed an average of 900 whales each year, yielding about 500 tons of meat and fat that was consumed by local residents. Hunts have declined in recent years. From 2001 to 2005, about 3400 whales were killed, yielding about 890 metric tons of blubber and 990 metric tons of meat. The whale kill, or grindadráp in the Faroese language, begins when a ﬁ shing boat spots a pod close enough to a suitable shore, on a suitably clear day. A single boat, or even a small group of ﬁ shermen, is not sufﬁ cient to trap a.. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper was to determine whether the individual attributes of locus of control, gender, major in college and years of job experience affect the acceptability of certain workplace behaviors. A total of 198 college students of a mid-sized southeastern university formed the sample for this study. Locus of control, gender and years of job experience were found to have some affect on whether an individual considered a certain behavior acceptable or unacceptable.
Bioinformatics is a new field of study whose ethical implications involve a combination of bioethics, computer ethics and information ethics. This paper is an attempt to view some of these implications from the perspective of Buddhism. Privacy is a central concern in both computer/information ethics and bioethics, and with information technology being increasingly utilized to process biological and genetic data, the issue has become even more pronounced. Traditionally, privacy presupposes the individual self but as Buddhism does away with the (...) ultimate conception of an individual self, it has to find a way to analyse and justify privacy that does not presuppose such a self. It does this through a pragmatic conception that does not depend on a positing of the substantial self, which is then found to be unnecessary for an effective protection of privacy. As it may be possible one day to link genetic data to individuals, the Buddhist conception perhaps offers a more flexible approach, as what is considered to be integral to an individual person is not fixed in objectivity but depends on convention. (shrink)
In recent years, the practices of work organizations have raised increasing concerns regarding individual privacy at work. It is clear that people expect and value privacy in their personal lives. However, the extent to which privacy perceptions influence individuals’ work attitudes is less clear. Research has explored the extent to which employee perceptions of privacy derive from characteristics of the programs themselves. However, there is a paucity of research that examines how the characteristics of the individual employee may (...) influence perceptions of these programs. In this study we seek to shed light on this issue, as we examine how the individual ethical orientation of employees influences perceptions of a variety of human resource programs that have the potential to be perceived as invasive. Results indicate that ethical orientation exerts direct effects on perceived invasiveness of programs and exerts both direct and indirect effects on perceived appropriateness of programs. Implications for research and for managers adopting privacy-related programs are discussed. (shrink)
A growth in consumer and media ethical consciousness has resulted in the need for organizations to ensure that members understand, share and project an approved and unified set of ethics. Thus understanding which variables are related to sharing and variation of ethical reasoning and moral intent, and the relative strength of these variables is critical. While past research has examined individual (attitudes, values, etc.), social (peers, significant others, etc.) and organizational (codes of conduct, senior management, etc.) variables, it has (...) focused on their influence on the individual – and not on their role in relation to patterns of group sharing and variation in an organization. Introduced as a new methodology to study ethics, microcultural analysis stipulates that to explain patterns of sharing and variation, one must understand how individual, social and organizational variables influence sharing and variation. Key hypotheses predict that managers who share in individual, social or organizational determinants will be more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent. Qualitative and quantitative research supports the key hypotheses, finding social ties, personal moral intensity, Machiavellianism, locus of control and codes of ethics as significant determinants. Individuals who share in these determinants are more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent. Additionally, regression analysis reveals social ties and personal moral intensity to be the strongest determinants. Based on these results, managerial recommendations focus on a holistic approach, manipulating these three determinants to cultivate a unified code of ethics within an organization. (shrink)
Meta-analytic findings have suggested that individual differences are relatively weaker predictors of academic dishonesty than are situational factors. A robust literature on deviance correlates and workplace integrity testing, however, demonstrates that individual difference variables can be relatively strong predictors of a range of counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs). To the extent that academic cheating represents a kind of counterproductive behavior in the work role of "student", employment-type integrity measures should be strong predictors of academic dishonesty. Our results with a (...) college student sample showed that integrity test scores were moderate to strong correlates of self-reported academic cheating and that these relationships persisted even after controlling for a variety of measurement concerns such as item format similarity, concurrent assessment, and socially desirable responding. Implications for institutional honor codes and the broader relations between educational and workplace dishonesty are discussed. (shrink)
In this essay I will try to demonstrate that the principle of self-determination is based on a formal and individualistic view of liberty rights. I also propose a different perspective that takes into account the relationships rather than the individual. I will show how this result can only be achieved through [...].
This article attempts a philosophical defense of an autonomy-based approach to multicultural education. I contend that multicultural education is necessary in order for students to be able to develop personal autonomy. This, in turn, can empower students to effectively formulate their own version of the good life. The development of autonomy need not, as many critics claim, promote atomistic individualism. Rather, contemporary liberal autonomy strives for a balance between the individual and the community. In defending multicultural education, my argument (...) relies on Joseph Raz's notion of autonomy and Will Kymlicka's concept of a context of choice. I conclude that through multicultural education, students can expand their contexts of choice and consequently develop individual autonomy, an essential ingredient of the good life. (shrink)
Investigators and institutional review boards should integrate plans about the appropriate disclosure of individual genetic results when designing research studies. The ethical principles of beneficence, respect, reciprocity, and justice provide justification for routinely offering certain results to research participants. We propose a result-evaluation approach that assesses the expected information and the context of the study in order to decide whether results should be offered. According to this approach, the analytic validity and the clinical utility of a specific result determine (...) whether it should be offered routinely. Different results may therefore require different decisions even within the same study. We argue that the threshold of clinical utility for disclosing a result in a research study should be lower than the threshold used for clinical use of the same result. The personal meaning of a result provides additional criteria for evaluation. Finally, the context of the study allows for a more nuanced analysis by addressing the investigators' capabilities for appropriate disclosure, participants' alternative access to the result, and their relationship with the investigators. This analysis shows that the same result may require different decisions in different contexts. (shrink)
What are the agents of life? Central to our conception of the biological world is the idea that it contains various kinds of individuals, including genes, organisms, and species. How we conceive of these agents of life is central to our understanding of the relationship between life and mind, the place of hierarchical thinking in the biological sciences, and pluralistic views of biological agency. Genes and the Agents of Life rethinks the place of the individual in the biological sciences, (...) drawing parallels with the cognitive and social sciences. Genes, organisms, and species are all agents of life, but how are each of these conceptualized within genetics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, and systematics? The book includes highly accessible discussions of genetic encoding, species and natural kinds, and pluralism above the levels of selection, drawing on work from across the biological sciences. A companion to Boundaries of the Mind, (Cambridge, 2004) where the focus is on the cognitive sciences, this volume will appeal to professionals and students in philosophy, biology, and the history of science. Robert A. Wilson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alberta. He is the author of Cartesian Psychology and Physical Minds (Cambridge, 1995). (shrink)
The logic of common belief does not always re‡ect that of individual beliefs. In particular, even when the individual belief operators satisfy the KD45 logic, the common belief operator may fail to satisfy axiom 5. That is, it can happen that neither is A commonly believed nor is it common belief that A is not commonly believed. We identify the intersubjective restrictions on individual beliefs that are incorporated in axiom 5 for common belief.
Studies show that there are widespread intrasubjective and intersubjective color variations among normal perceivers. These variations have serious ramifications in the debate about the nature and ontology of color. It is typical to think of the debate about color as a dispute between objectivists and subjectivists. Objectivists hold that colors are perceiver-independent physical properties of objects while subjectivists hold that they are either projections onto external objects or dispositions objects have to look colored. I argue that individual color variations (...) present difficulties, albeit not the same kind, for both objectivism and subjectivism. Lastly, I propose an alternative account that handles such variations nicely. (shrink)
This study investigated individual differences in the belief bias effect, which is the tendency to accept conclusions because they are believable rather than because they are logically valid. It was observed that the extent of an individual's belief bias effect was unrelated to a number of measures of reasoning competence. Instead, as predicted by mental models theory, it was related to a person's ability to generate alternative representations of premises: the more alternatives a person generated, the less likely (...) they were to show a belief bias effect. In contrast to belief effects, which were predicted by the number of alternatives generated, scores on logical reasoning tasks were predicted by an individual's understanding of the concept of logical necessity. These two mediating variables, ability to generate alternatives and understanding of logical necessity, were themselves predicted by similar variables, such as cognitive motivation and abstract reasoning ability. Our findings strongly support the mental models interpretation of the belief bias effect, and suggest that individual differences in this effect are associated with a specific ability to generate alternatives, rather than with a general logical competence. (shrink)
In this paper we consider whether one type of individual investor, which we call at risk investors, should be denied access to securities markets to prevent them from suffering serious financial harm. We consider one kind of paternalistic justification for prohibiting at risk investors from participating in securities markets, and argue that it is not successful. We then argue that restricting access to markets is justified in some circumstances to protect the rights of at risk investors. We conclude with (...) some suggestions about how this might be done. (shrink)
natural selection may show why all (most, some) humans have an opposable thumb, but cannot show why any particular human has one, Karen Neander ([1995a], [1995b]) argues that this is false because natural selection is 'cumulative'. It is argued here, on grounds independent of its cumulativity, that selection can explain the characteristics of individual organisms subsequent to the event. The difference of opinion between Sober and his critics turns on an ontological dispute about how organisms are identified and individuated. (...) The assumption that Sober needs to make his point is extraneous to population genetics, and, for this reason, gratuitous. (shrink)
Carpendale & Lewis's (C&L's) constructivist account needs greater emphasis on how individual differences in caregivers' impact on the efficacy of epistemic triangle interaction in fostering children's understanding of mind. Caregivers' attunement to their infants' mental states and their willingness to enable infants to participate in exchanges about the mind are posited as important determinants of effective epistemic triangle interaction.
The concept of authority crosses many social sciences, but there is a lack of common taxonomy and definitions on this topic. The aims of this review are: (1) to define the basic characteristics of the authority relationship, reaching a definition suitable for the different domains of social psychology and social sciences; (2) to bridge the gap between individual and societal levels of explanation concerning the authority relationship, by proposing an interpretation within the framework of social representations. The authority relationship (...) can be conceived as a negotiation of meanings and it is closely linked to shared value orientation and the attribution of meanings negotiated within a society. We assume that the authority relationship is socially constructed and represents both a shared representation of society and a normative principle of social life. A multidisciplinary approach is adopted, crossing definitions and studies provided in sociology, political science, law and social psychology. (shrink)
The Psychological Study of Social Memory Phenomena Very often our memories of the past are of experiences or events we shared with others. And “in many circumstances in society, remembering is a social event” (Roediger, Bergman, & Meade, 2000, p.129): parents and children reminisce about significant family events, friends discuss a movie they just saw together, students study for exams with their roommates, colleagues remind one another of information relevant to an important group decision, and complete strangers discuss a crime (...) they happened to witness together. Psychology is at the heart of recent interdisciplinary efforts to understand the relationships between an individual remembering alone, an individual remembering in a group, and the group itself remembering. (shrink)
The recent failures and scandals involving many large businesses have highlighted the importance of corporate social responsibility as a fundamental factor in the soundness of the free market system. The corporate social responsiveness orientation of business executives plays an important role in corporate decision making since managers make important decisions on behalf of their corporations. This paper explores whether there is a relationship between an individual's degree of religiousness and his or her corporate social responsiveness (CSR) orientation. The results (...) of a survey of 473 business students found a significant relationship between degree of religiousness and attitudes toward the economic and ethical components of CSR. Some explanations as well as limited generalizations and implications are developed. (shrink)
We explore and provide an account for a recently identified judgment anomaly, i.e., an order effect that changes the strength of intentionality ascriptions for some side effects (e.g., when a chairman's pursuit of profits has the foreseen but unintended consequence of harming the environment). Experiment 1 replicated the previously unanticipated order effect anomaly controlling for general individual differences. Experiment 2 revealed that the order effect was multiply determined and influenced by factors such as beliefs (i.e., that the same actor (...) was involved in bringing about both good and bad side effects) and philosophical training (i.e., more training was associated with smaller differences in judgment when harm followed help). Results provide more evidence that the folk's philosophically relevant intuitions are predictably fragmented and depend on the dynamic interplay between persons, process, and environments. Methodological and theoretical implications are discussed. (shrink)
This essay explores the conception of the individual in Dewey's democratic writings. Following Dewey's lead, I argue that it is human individuality, including our impulses, habits, and capacities, along with an appropriate environment, that represents the uniqueness and power of every individual. In achieving our individuality, we form habits to live and to grow; we strive toward a fully realized human being, while we perform a unique function in keeping the community growing. Dewey's theory of self-construction provides a (...) theoretical foundation for an active-individual as-a-societal-contributor-always-in-the -making that in turn contributes to the improvement of educational opportunities for all people. (shrink)
The aim of this study is to show that, because the single individual, to whom Kierkegaard dedicates his entire authorship, is no less secular than religious, the secular does not exist outside of the religious and the religious does not exist outside of the secular. To this end four concepts central to Kierkegaard are examined: (1) authority; (2) the either/or decision or choice and its relationship to the concepts of stages and history; (3) indirect communication and the claim that (...) truth is subjectivity; and (4) metaphor as the language of spirit, both divine and human. (shrink)
A framework is presented for studying ethical conduct in public accounting practice. Four levels of analysis are distinguished: individual, local office, multi-office firm and professional institute. Several propositions are derived from the framework and discussed: (1) The effects of ethical vs. unethical behavior on an accountant's prospects for advancement are asymmetrical in nature; (2) the way individuals perceive or frame the decision problem at hand will make an ethical response more or less likely; (3) the economic incentives present in (...) competitive markets influence the work goals of firms and offices, and lead to ethical dilemmas for individuals; and (4) initiatives at the firm or institute level aimed at compliance with professional ethical standards will by themselves have little effect on individual ethical behavior. Research into ethical behavior of practitioners will capture self-conscious and biased responses unless it is designed so as to permit indirect observation and recording of spontaneous comments. To assure valid research findings, practitioners should be interviewed and their motives assessed indirectly. A longitudinal approach is recommended, beginning with students who are choosing an accounting career. Two types of questions for use in these interviews are described. (shrink)
TO assert that one should come to terms with the past if one wants to understand the present would be to underline the obvious. And yet, even though we know much more of the history of natural rights theories now, especially of the origin of these theories before the seventeenth century, than we did, say, twenty years ago, this increase in knowledge seems to have had little impact on contemporary philosophical discussions about the nature of rights. Sometimes it seems that (...) philosophers, especially the more analytically minded ones, regard the history of ideas as a separate subject with little or no relevance to their research. One of the reasons might be a tendency to regard conceptual analysis of rights as being relatively impartial between different theories in which these concepts might function. Even those who would allow for a close connection between a certain conception of the nature of rights and a theory of rights would ﬁnd it prudent to distinguish more or less sharply between the question of what it means to have a right on the one hand, and the question which rights we have on the other hand. I would like to suggest that concepts of rights are the concepts of a theory and that we need to understand the theories from which they have emerged in order to fully understand contemporary rights language. One way of making this claim plausible would be to focus on an issue that has become central to contemporary debates about rights, that is, the conception of the rights-holder as a sovereign individual. I believe that our notion of individual sovereignty wavers between two quite different conceptions of sovereignty. The difference between the two will become obvious if we consider the relation between moral rights and more general moral obligations that people might have. I will then draw attention to a recent account of the history of natural rights theories. The point of doing so is this: if the account is true, then we have to acknowledge that ‘our’ ideas of natural rights (and especially of the sovereignty that people are supposed to possess according to these theories) have.... (shrink)
This article explores Schelling’s view concerning the eventual reconciliation of modern individuality and society. It is argued that in Schelling’s speculations on this subject, aesthetic models play a prominent role: on the level of society by expressing the need for a new mythology; on the level of the individual by formulating a normative ideal in which the individual is modelled after the work of artand its creator: the artistic genius. This normative view on modern individuality is quite ambivalent. (...) It summons the individual to abandon its individuality and to have it determined by universality. But, since Schelling wants the individual to be a real individuality, his position comes down to the quest for an “individual universal.” Relying on a close-reading of Schelling’s System des transzendentalenIdealismus, the Philosophie der Kunst, and the Stuttgarter Privatvorlesungen, the paradigm of this extraordinary position is shown to be the work of art. (shrink)
Gyekye argues for the moral supremacy of certain duties. The individual is, as a natural member of the cultural community, morally obligated to respect community values; co-operate with fellow community members, be sensitive to the economic plight of others and morally expected to respect the elderly. Though Gyekye recognizes the moral need to respect certain individual rights, in the case of a moral clash between those rights and the values cherished by the community, the latter must be upheld. (...) I wish to critically examine the arguments in support of this position. Contrary to Gyekye's view, I argue that the natural interpersonal bond among members of the same cultural community does not strongly support some of the duties mentioned. However, I am not arguing that the individual person is not morally obligated to the cultural community at all. I argue that natural membership of the cultural community could be a necessary condition for the justification of certain duties; it is not, morally, a sufficient condition. (shrink)
Two contrasting types of individuals were each predicted to agree, for different reasons, that conventional ethical standards of society need not be upheld if organizational interests appear to demand otherwise. The hypotheses were investigated using questionnaire responses from two samples (employed and student, total N=308). Clear support was obtained for the prediction that individuals inclined toward self-interest and behavior counter to conventional standards would agree with the preceding position. Partial support was obtained for the hypothesis that individuals who simply feel (...) obligated to support an employing organization would also agree. While the latter's perspective may be somewhat narrow or perhaps even cynical, they do not seem to reflect the self-interest profile of the first group. This study also extends the groundbreaking work of Froelich and Kottke by exploring individual difference correlates of their promising ethics scale assessing the extent of agreement that organizational interests legitimately supersede more conventional ethical standards. (shrink)
There is a strong formal analogy between proposition-wise supervenience of collective doxastic rationality on individual doxasticrationality and supervenience of social choice functions on individual choice functions. In light of this analogy, the basis for List and Pettit’s impossibility theorems can fruitfully be compared with the basis for Arrow’s. This helps to explain why List and Pettit can derive no impossibility theorem for set-wise supervenience. However, there are empirical reasons for doubting that set-wise supervenience of collective doxastic rationality on (...)individual doxastic rationality is necessary; a systematic feedback relationship between the former and some individual behavioral dispositions is probably sufficient to dissolve mysteries about group agency. Group doxastic rationality need not supervene on individual rationality. (shrink)
Guanxi in China is a very ancient concept embedded in the Confucian concept of life and one that is a ‚hot' topic in that it is currently attracting increasing attention from both Western and Chinese scholars. One aspect of Guanxi which has been the subject of most of the research of late is the influence of Guanxi on firm performance. However, relatively few studies have examined how Guanxi at the individual level is transferred into a firm to influence its (...) financial performance. This study first reclassifies Guanxi into obligatory, reciprocal, and utilitarian types at the individual level as a means to clarifying the confusion brought above from previous studies. It then provides a conceptual framework in which to systematically characterize the link between Guanxi at the individual level and organizational dynamics: that is, how is Guanxi at the individual level shifted to a firm and how does it affect organizational dynamics of that firm at the organizational level. Finally, it provides a deeper understanding of the financial implications of Guanxi to business firms in China. (shrink)
Current theories of reasoning such as mental models or mental logic assume a universal cognitive mechanism that underlies human reasoning performance. However, there is evidence that this is not the case, for example, the work of Ford (1995), who found that some people adopted predominantly spatial and some verbal strategies in a syllogistic reasoning task. Using written and think-aloud protocols, the present study confirmed the existence of these individual differences. However, in sharp contrast to Ford, the present study found (...) few differences in reasoning performance between the two groups, in terms of accuracy or type of conclusion generated. Hence, reasoners present an outward appearance of ubiquity, despite underlying differences in reasoning processes. These findings have implications for theoretical accounts of reasoning, and for attempts to model reasoning data. Any comprehensive account needs to account for strategic differences and how these may develop in logically untrained individuals. (shrink)
Actions within organizational contexts should be understood differently as compared with actions performed outside of such contexts. This is the case due to the agentic shift, as discussed by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, and the role that systemic factors play in shaping the available alternatives from which individuals acting within institutions choose. The analysis stemming from Milgram’s experiments suggests not simply that individuals temporarily abdicate their moral agency on occasion, but that there is an erosion of agency within organizations. The (...) point about the erosion of agency is deepened in the discussion of a case study which illustrates the difficulty of identifying even the bare “ownership” of actions within organizations. While this is the case, explicating these reasons suggests that both individual actors and firms can bear ethical responsibility within organizational contexts. As part of the effort to present the whole picture, business ethics courses should introduce students to the relevant insights from social psychology and human factors research. (shrink)