The debate about the use of robots in the care of older adults has often been dominated by either overly optimistic visions (coming particularly from Japan), in which robots are seamlessly incorporated into society thereby enhancing quality of life for everyone; or by extremely pessimistic scenarios that paint such a future as horrifying. We reject this dichotomy and argue for a more differentiated ethical evaluation of the possibilities and risks involved with the use of social robots. In a critical discussion (...) surrounding the capabilities approach to the ethical evaluation of quality of life, we develop an ethical framework that is more appropriate to the situation of the oldest old. We urge employment of a context-dependent approach to the ethical evaluation of new technologies in the care and therapy of older adults, and using the example of the robotic seal Paro, we show how this can be accomplished in a sensible and practical way. (shrink)
The contributions in this part of the present issue mainly originate from the Carnap Lectures 2011 in Bochum where Prof. Tim Crane (Cambridge, UK) and Prof. Katalin Farkas (Budapest) presented keynote lectures under the heading “The Boundaries of the Mental”. The full workshop program is available on our website: http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/philosophy/carnap2011/index.html.
In a world of glossy corporate social responsibility reports, the shallowness of the actual CSR results may well be its counterpart. We claim that the possible gaps between aspirations and implementations are due to the company's overrating abilities to deal with the irrational and complex moral world of business. Many academic approaches aim to lift business ethics up to a higher level by enhancing competences but will fail because they are too rationalistic and generalistic to match the pluralistic and situational (...) practice constituted by the mosaic of values and set of constraints. This is demonstrated by describing and analyzing the CSR development of the multinational caterer Sodexo and in particular its Dutch branch. We explain what they do and why they are not successful. We present a new tool named Ethical Room for Maneuver that centers experiences and concrete situations in a playground of inquiry and experiment to enhance abilities to operate in themoral world and to meliorate business and society with more effectiveness. (shrink)
For valid informed consent, it is crucial that patients or research participants fully understand all that their consent entails. Testing and revising informed consent documents with the assistance of their addressees can improve their understandability. In this study we aimed at further developing a method for testing and improving informed consent documents with regard to readability and test-readers’ understanding and reactions. We tested, revised, and retested template informed consent documents for biobank research by means of 11 focus group interviews with (...) members from the documents’ target population. For the analysis of focus group excerpts we used qualitative content analysis. Revisions were made based on focus group feedback in an iterative process. Focus group participants gave substantial feedback on the original and on the revised version of the tested documents. Revisions included adding and clarifying explanations, including an info-box summarizing the main points of the text and an illustrative graphic. Our results indicate positive effects on the tested and revised informed consent documents in regard to general readability and test-readers’ understanding and reactions. Participatory methods for improving informed consent should be more often applied and further evaluated for both, medical interventions and clinical research. Particular conceptual and methodological challenges need to be addressed in the future. (shrink)
This article studies the role of entrepreneurship in business ethics and promotes a resource-based ethics. The need for and usefulness of this form of ethics emerge from an analysis of contemporary business ethics that appears to be inefficacious and from a moral business practice formed out of the relationship between the veal calf industry of the VanDrie Group and the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals in their development and implementation of a Welfare Hallmark for calves. Both organizations created (...) jointly a new meat segment in the market by trust-building and partnership. The relationship shows a remodeling of capabilities of both organizations in the light of co-creation of values. The VanDrie Group established an effectuation of moral goals by being socially sensitive and resource-minded. The DSPA created openings for dialogue by being pragmatic in its ideals. Philosophically, this article sketches a resource-based ethics with Deweyan concepts as end-in-view and transactionality of means and ends. Both organizations show in their entrepreneurship the ability to create, what is called "Room for Maneuver" by exploring, socializing, individualizing, and growing. By maneuvering they set off a form of co-evolution between business and ethics. This article demonstrates what actual moral entrepreneurship can do in bringing about moral change by combining effectively social, policy, norm, and economic related values. (shrink)