Corporations are moral persons to the extent that they have rights and duties, but their moral personality is severely limited. As artificial persons, they lack the emotional make-up that allows natural persons to show virtues and vices. That fact, taken with the representative function of management, places significant limitations on what constitutes ethical behavior by management. A common misunderstanding of those limitations can lead ethical managers to behave unethically and can lead the public to have improper expectations of corporations.
Disloyalty is always a vice, but loyalty is not always a virtue, so ethical management should not seek simply whatever loyalty it can get. Loyalty can make it possible for us to trust each other, and, when it takes appropriate objects and does not take extreme or improper forms, it can lie at the heart of much of what makes life worthwhile. Hence, it is understandable that corporations and management seek loyalty despite the fact that it can so easily go (...) wrong. This paper deals with the issues of the grounds and objects of the employee loyalty that it is appropriate for management to seek. (shrink)
‘There is a moral right to secede.’It is not, perhaps, always entirely clear what Buchanan means with his reference to a right to secede, and that is a matter we shall have to deal with in due course, but, anyway, the claim that there is a moral right to secede is a good deal more complex than is apparent from Buchanan's ground-breaking work and involves a number of assumptions that need to be gone into if Buchanan's work is to be (...) built on. Many other people, too, seem to assume such a right, especially in the context of discussions of an alleged right to self-determination. My main concern in this paper is with the self that might be self-determining and with what it must be like if it is to have a right. My conclusion is that, though there are many important questions to raise about secession, they are not, outside the case of federations, questions about a right to secede; a right to secede has bearing only in the least interesting cases. (shrink)
Death, violent or otherwise, is a matter of widespread concern with ongoing debates about such matters as euthanasia and the nature of brain death. Philosophers have often argued about the rationality of fear of death. This book argues that that dispute has been misconceived: fear of death is not something that follows or fails to follow from reason, but rather, it forms the basis of reasoning and helps to show why people must be cooperating beings who accept certain sorts of (...) facts as reasons for acting. Within the context of this account of reasons, the book gives a new understanding of brain death and of physician-assisted suicide. (shrink)
R. E. Ewin has argued that corporations are moral persons, but Ewin describes them as being unable to think or to act in virtuous and vicious ways. Ewin thinks that their impoverished emotional life would not allow them to act in these ways. In this brief essay I want to challenge the idea that corporations cannot act virtuously. I begin by examining deficiencies in Ewin''s notion of corporate personhood. I argue that he effectively reduces corporations to (...) the status of incompetent patients. I shall make use of a richer notion of corporate personhood as I explore the logical relationship between corporate action and the quality of the corporate emotional life. After discussing an alternate methodology for making moral assessments of action I consider briefly two corporate disasters: the crash on Mt. Erebus, the Imperial Foods plant fire. These cases are used to show the inadequacy of Ewin''s thesis that only corporate managers are capable of displaying vice. (shrink)
R. E. Ewin has argued that corporations are moral persons, but Ewin describes them as being unable to think or to act in virtuous and vicious ways. Ewin thinks that their impoverished emotional life would not allow them to act in these ways. In this brief essay I want to challenge the idea that corporations cannot act virtuously. I begin by examining deficiencies in Ewin's notion of corporate personhood. I argue that he effectively reduces corporations to (...) the status of incompetent patients. I shall make use of a richer notion of corporate personhood as I explore the logical relationship between corporate action and the quality of the corporate emotional life. After discussing an alternate methodology for making moral assessments of action I consider briefly two corporate disasters: the crash on Mt. Erebus, the Imperial Foods plant fire. These cases are used to show the inadequacy of Ewin's thesis that only corporate managers are capable of displaying vice. (shrink)
Those of us who were made to study Pride and Prejudice at school know that Darcy represents pride and Elizabeth represents prejudice. Those of us who have actually read the book know that the situation is a good deal more complicated than that. The motivation for a significant part of the action is Elizabeth's pride, a point that is made quite clearly and is recognized by Elizabeth herself in what sounds like a thoroughly rehearsed speech: ‘How despicably have I acted!’ (...) she cried.—‘I, who have prided myself on my discernment!—I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity, in useless or blameable distrust.—How humiliating is this discovery!—Yet, how just a humiliation!—Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly.—Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself’. (shrink)
Morality is often thought of as non-rational or sub-rational. In Moral Notions, first published in 1967, Julius Kovesi argues that the rationality of morality is built into the way we construct moral concepts. In showing this he also resolves the old Humean conundrum of the relation between 'facts' and 'values'. And he puts forward a method of reasoning that might make 'applied ethics' (at present largely a hodge-podge of opinions) into a constructive discipline. Kovesi's general theory of concepts - important (...) in its own right - is indebted to his interpretation of Plato, and his three papers on Plato, first published here, explain this debt. This new edition of Moral Notions also includes a foreward by Philippa Foot, a biography of the author, and a substantial afterword in which the editors, Robert Ewin and Alan Tapper, explain the signficance of Kovesi's work. (shrink)
Julius Kovesi was a moral philosopher contemporary with Alasdair MacIntyre, and dealing with many of the same questions as MacIntyre. In our view, Kovesi’s moral philosophy is rich in ideas and worth revisiting. MacIntyre agrees: Kovesi’s Moral Notions, he has said, is ‘a minor classic in moral philosophy that has not yet received its due’. Kovesi was not a thinker whose work fits readily into any one tradition. Unlike the later MacIntyre, he was not a Thomistic Aristotelian, nor even an (...) Aristotelian. He saw his viewpoint as Platonic, or perhaps more accurately as Socratic. His writings, unlike MacIntyre’s, have little to say about justice. However, Kovesi did offfer a theory of practical reason. His main contention was that all human social life embodies a set of concepts that govern and guide that life, concepts without which that life would be impossible. These include our moral concepts. For Kovesi, moral concepts are not external to, but constitutive of social life in any of its possible forms. But in the course of his argument he also developed a way of thinking about how concepts work, which we term ‘conceptual functionalism’, and which we will elucidate. (shrink)
G. E. Moore's ‘A Defence of Common Sense’ has generated the kind of interest and contrariety which often accompany what is new, provocative, and even important in philosophy. Moore himself reportedly agreed with Wittgenstein's estimate that this was his best article, while C. D. Broad has lamented its very great but largely unfortunate influence. Although the essay inspired Wittgenstein to explore the basis of Moore's claim to know many propositions of common sense to be true, A. J. Ayer judges its (...) enduring value to lie in provoking a more sophisticated conception of the very type of metaphysics which disputes any such unqualified claim of certainty. (shrink)
This study represents an improvement in the ethics scales inventory published in a 1988 Journal of Business Ethics article. The article presents the distillation and validation process whereby the original 33 item inventory was reduced to eight items. These eight items comprise the following ethical dimensions: a moral equity dimension, a relativism dimension, and a contractualism dimension. The multidimensional ethics scale demonstrates significant predictive ability.
Corporate social responsibility is a recognised and common part of business activity. Some of the regularly cited motives behind CSR are employee morale, recruitment and retention, with employees acknowledged as a key organisational stakeholder. Despite the significance of employees in relation to CSR, relatively few studies have examined their engagement with CSR and the impediments relevant to this engagement. This exploratory case study-based research addresses this paucity of attention, drawing on one to one interviews and observation in a large UK (...) energy company. A diversity of engagement was found, ranging from employees who exhibited detachment from the CSR activities within the company, to those who were fully engaged with the CSR activities, and to others who were content with their own personal, but not organisational, engagement with CSR. A number of organisational context impediments, including poor communication, a perceived weak and low visibility of CSR culture, and lack of strategic alignment of CSR to business and personal objectives, served to explain this diversity of employee engagement. Social exchange theory is applied to help explore the volition that individual employees have towards their engagement with CSR activities, and to consider the implications of an implicit social, rather than explicit economic, contract between an organisation and its employees in their engagement with CSR. (shrink)
This essay explores the role of informal logicand its application in the context of currentdebates regarding evidence-based medicine. This aim is achieved through a discussion ofthe goals and objectives of evidence-basedmedicine and a review of the criticisms raisedagainst evidence-based medicine. Thecontributions to informal logic by StephenToulmin and Douglas Walton are explicated andtheir relevance for evidence-based medicine isdiscussed in relation to a common clinicalscenario: hypertension management. This essayconcludes with a discussion on the relationshipbetween clinical reasoning, rationality, andevidence. It is argued that (...) informal logic hasthe virtue of bringing explicitness to the roleof evidence in clinical reasoning, and bringssensitivity to understanding the role ofdialogical context in the need for evidence inclinical decision making. (shrink)
Evidence based medicine has been a topic of considerable controversy in medical and health care circles over its short lifetime, because of the claims made by its exponents about the criteria used to assess the evidence for or against the effectiveness of medical interventions. The central epistemological debates underpinning the debates about evidence based medicine are reviewed by this paper, and some areas are suggested where further work remains to be done. In particular, further work is needed on the theory (...) of evidence and inference; causation and correlation; clinical judgment and collective knowledge; the structure of medical theory; and the nature of clinical effectiveness. (shrink)
The thesis of this article is that there has never been any ground for the controversy between the doctrine of free will and determinism, that it is based upon a misapprehension, that the two assertions are entirely consistent, that one of them strictly implies the other, that they have been opposed only because of our natural want of the analytical imagination. In so saying I do not tamper with the meaning of either phrase. That would be unpardonable. I mean free (...) will in the natural and usual sense, in the fullest, the most absolute sense in which for the purposes of the personal and moral life the term is ever employed. I mean it as implying responsibility, merit and demerit, guilt and desert. I mean it as implying, after an act has been performed, that one " could have done otherwise " than one did. I mean it as conveying these things also, not in any subtly modified sense but in exactly the sense in which we conceive them in life and in law and in ethics. These two doctrines have been opposed because we have not realised that free will can be analysed without being destroyed, and that determinism is merely a feature of the analysis of it. And if we are tempted to take refuge in the thought of an "ultimate ", an "innermost" liberty that eludes the analysis, then we have implied a deterministic basis and constitution for this liberty as well. For such a basis and constitution lie in the idea of liberty. -/- The thesis is not, like that of Green or Bradley, that the contending opinions are reconciled if we adopt a certain metaphysic of the ego, as that it is timeless, and identifies itself with a desire by a " timeless act". This is to say that the two are irreconcilable, as they are popularly supposed to be, except by a theory that delivers us from the conflict by taking us out of time. Our view on the contrary is that from the natural and temporal point of view itself there never was any need of a reconciliation but only of a comprehension of the meaning of terms. (The metaphysical nature of the self and its identity through time is a problem for all who confront memory, anticipation, etc.; it has no peculiar difficulties arising from the present problem.) -/- I am not maintaining that determinism is true; only that it is true insofar as we have free will. That we are free in willing is, broadly speaking, a fact of experience. That broad fact is more assured than any philosophical analysis. It is therefore surer than the deterministic analysis of it, entirely adequate as that in the end appears to be. But it is not here affirmed that there are no small exceptions, no slight undetermined swervings, no ingredient of absolute chance. All that is here said is that such absence of determination, if and so far as it exists, is no gain to freedom, but sheer loss of it; no advantage to the moral life, but blank subtraction from it. -- When I speak below of "the indeterminist" I mean the libertarian indeterminist, that is, him who believes in free will and holds that it involves indetermination. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between concepts of probability and hermeneutics. It seeks to examine the relationship between subjective (Bayesian) views of probability and hermeneutic descriptions of understanding. It is argued that Gadamer'saccount of the prejudicial nature of understanding, derived from Heidegger'sanalysis of foreunderstanding, offers a provocative model of clinical reasoning. The implications of this model for evidence-based medicine are discussed in conclusion.