In 1993, my first full year as a master’s student studying rhetoric at the University of Tennessee, the venerable George Kennedy visited campus. He was part of a star-studded interdisciplinary symposium on rhetoric (Page duBois and Thomas Cole were the other two guests), and if memory serves, the large crowd awaiting Kennedy’s talk stirred with anticipation; this event was two years after the publication of a much-needed and now indispensible translation of Aristotle’s Rhetoric. After the talk, it stirred with something (...) more like befuddlement. Kennedy’s talk, “A Hoot in the Dark,” shared a title with an essay he had published in Philosophy and Rhetoric the year prior. The subject? Animal rhetoric. I .. (shrink)
This article seeks to reconsider how traditional notions of ethics-ethics that privilege reason, truth, meaning, and a fixed conception of "the human"-are upended by digital technology, cybernetics, and virtual reality. We argue that prevailing ethical systems are incompatible with the way technology refigures the concepts and practices of identity, meaning, truth, and finally, communication. The article examines how both ethics and technology repurpose the liberal humanist subject even as they render such a subject untenable. Such an impasse reformats the question (...) of ethics by introducing questions of radical alterity, making it possible for new ethical systems to emerge. (shrink)
In Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale, philosopher Debra Satz takes a penetrating look at those commodity exchanges that strike most of us as problematic. What considerations, she asks, ought to guide the debates about such markets? What is it about a market involving prostitution or the sale of kidneys that makes it morally objectionable? How is a market in weapons or pollution different than a market in soybeans or automobiles? Are laws and social policies banning the (...) more noxious markets necessarily the best responses to them? Satz contends that categories previously used by philosophers and economists are of limited utility in addressing such questions because they have assumed markets to be homogenous. Accordingly, she offers a broader and more nuanced view of markets--one that goes beyond the usual discussions of efficiency and distributional equality--to show how markets shape our culture, foster or thwart human development, and create and support structures of power. (shrink)
In this article, Satz critiques "both Pogge's use of the causal contribution principle as well as his attempt to derive all of our obligations to the global poor from the need to refrain from harming others.".
This paper examines the morality of kidney markets through the lens of choice, inequality, and weak agency looking at the case for limiting such markets under both non-ideal and ideal circumstances. Regulating markets can go some way to addressing the problems of inequality and weak agency. The choice issue is different and this paper shows that the choice for some to sell their kidneys can have external effects on those who do not want to do so, constraining the options that (...) are now open to them. I believe that this is the strongest argument against such markets. (shrink)
Congdon (2017), Giladi (2018), and McConkey (2004) challenge feminist epistemologists and recognition theorists to come together to analyze epistemic injustice. I take up this challenge by highlighting the failure of recognition in cases of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice experienced by victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. I offer the #MeToo movement as a case study to demonstrate how the process of mutual recognition makes visible and helps overcome the epistemic injustice suffered by victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. (...) I argue that in declaring “me too,” the epistemic subject emerges in the context of a polyphonic symphony of victims claiming their status as agents who are able to make sense of their own social experiences and able to convey their knowledge to others. (shrink)
While the bioethics literature demonstrates that the field has spent substantial time and thought over the last four decades on the goals, methods, and desired outcomes for service and training in bioethics, there has been less progress defining the nature and goals of bioethics research and scholarship. This gap makes it difficult both to describe the breadth and depth of these areas of bioethics and, importantly, to gauge their success. However, the gap also presents us with an opportunity to define (...) this scope of work for ourselves and to help shape the broader conversation about the impact of academic research. Because of growing constraints on academic funding, researchers and scholars in many fields are being asked to demonstrate and also forecast the value and impact of their work. To do that, and also to satisfy ourselves that our work has meaningful effect, we must understand how our work can motivate change and how that change can be meaningfully measured. In a field as diverse as bioethics, the pathways to and metrics of change will likewise be diverse. It is therefore critical that any assessment of the impact of bioethics research and scholarship be informed by an understanding of the nature of the work, its goals, and how those goals can and ought to be furthered. In this paper, we propose a conceptual model that connects individual bioethics projects to the broader goals of scholarship, describing the translation of research and scholarly output into changes in thinking, practice, and policy. One of the key implications of the model is that impact in bioethics is generally the result of a collection of projects rather than of any single piece of research or scholarship. Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a thoroughgoing conversation about bioethics research and scholarship that will advance and shape the important conversation about their impact. (shrink)
Agora, Academy, and the Conduct of Philosophy offers extremely careful and detailed criticisms of some of the most important assumptions scholars have brought to bear in beginning the process of (Platonic) interpretation. It goes on to offer a new way to group the dialogues, based on important facts in the lives and philosophical practices of Socrates - the main speaker in most of Plato's dialogues - and of Plato himself. Both sides of Debra Nails's arguments deserve close attention: the (...) negative side, which exposes a great deal of diversity in a field that often claims to have achieved a consensus; and the positive side, which insists that we must attend to what we know of these philosophers' lives and practices, if we are to make a serious attempt to understand why Plato wrote the way he did, and why his writings seem to depict different philosophies and even different approaches to philosophizing. From the Preface by Nicholas D. Smith. (shrink)
Company support for employee volunteerism (CSEV) benefits companies, employees, and society while helping companies meet the expectations of corporate social responsibility (CSR). A nationally representative telephone survey of 990 Canadian companies examined CSEV through the lens of Porter and Kramer's (2006, 'Strategy and society: the link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility', Harvard Business Review, 78-92.) CSR model. The results demonstrated that Canadian companies passively support employee volunteerism in a variety of ways, such as allowing employees to take time (...) off without pay (71%) or adjusting their work schedules (78%). These Responsive CSR efforts contribute to the company's value chain by enhancing employee morale, a perceived CSEV benefit. More active forms of support requiring company time or money are less common; for example, 29% allow time off with pay. Companies perceive that support for employee volunteering enhances their public image, a Responsive CSR strategy when employed to ameliorate a damaged reputation or a Strategic CSR strategy when contributing to a competitive position. A minority perceive challenges like covering the workload. Many companies target and/or exclude particular causes and link CSEV efforts with other philanthropic donations, suggesting a Strategic CSR application of CSEV. Where programs exist, they frequently are neither tracked nor evaluated, suggesting that companies are not using these programs as strategically as they might. (shrink)
This paper points to a lost and ignored strand of argument in the writings of liberalism's earliest defenders. These “classical” liberals recognized that market liberty was not always compatible with individual liberty. In particular, they argued that labor markets required intervention and regulation if workers were not to be wholly subjugated to the power of their employers. Functioning capitalist labor markets (along with functioning credit markets) are not “natural” outgrowths of exchange, but achievements hard won in the battle against feudalism. (...) Further, and crucially, the existence of such markets required closing off other market choices. Footnotesa I would like to thank the other contributors to this volume, and its editors, for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this essay. (shrink)
Having a self is associated with important advantages for an organism.These advantages have been suggested to include mechanisms supporting elaborate capacities for planning, decision-making, and behavioral control. Acknowledging such functionality offers possibilities for obtaining traction on investigation of neural correlates of selfhood. A method that has potential for investigating some of the brain-based properties of self arising in behavioral contexts varying in requirements for such behavioral guidance and control is functional brain imaging. Data obtained with this method are beginning to (...) converge on a set of brain areas that appear to play a significant role in permitting conscious access to representational content having reference to self as an embodied and independent experiencer and agent. These areas have been identified in a variety of imaging contexts ranging from passive state conditions in which they appear to manifest ongoing activity associated with spontaneous and typically ‘self-related’ cognition, to tasks targeting explicitly experienced properties of self, to demanding task conditions where activity within them is attenuated in apparent redirection of cognitive resources in the service of task guidance and control. In this paper, these data will be reviewed and a hypothesis presented regarding a significant role for these areas in enabling degrees of self-awareness and participating in the management of such behavioral control. (shrink)
Posthuman Urbanism explores what it means to live in an urban environment with reference to posthuman theory. The book argues that contemporary science and technology offers radically different ways for changing the way we live in city spaces today. It will be of interest to students and academics in Cultural Studies, Urban Studies, Critical Geography, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, Architecture and Anthropology.
We present an instrument developed to explain to students the concept of the personal ethical threshold (PET). The PET represents an individual’s susceptibility to situational pressure in his or her organization that makes moral behavior more personally difficult. Further, the PET varies according to the moral intensity of the issue at hand, such that individuals are less vulnerable to situational pressure for issues of high moral intensity, i.e., those with greater consequences for others. A higher PET reflects an individual’s greater (...) likelihood of adhering to the morally correct path, even in the face of high situational pressures (personal costs) and low moral intensity (collective importance). PET questionnaires were completed by 506 students representing eight business schools throughout the United States. Relationships between respondents’ PET and their gender, age, and major field of study, as well as the geographical location of their school, are explored. Results indicate that older students have higher PETs and that students attending schools in the northeastern part of the United States have lower PETs. These findings are discussed. It is argued that the PET instrument can be used to help students identify organizational pressures and intrapersonal processes that can impede their moral behavior in organizations. (shrink)
Contemporary platonism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is the belief in a fundamental cleavage between intelligible but invisible Platonic forms that are real and eternal, and perceptible objects whose confinement to spacetime constitutes an inferior existence and about which knowledge is impossible. The other dogma involves a kind of reductionism: the belief that Plato’s unhypothetical first principle of the all is identical to the form of the good. Both dogmas, I argue, are ill-founded.
The late Susan Moller Okin was a leading political theorist whose scholarship tried to integrate political philosophy and issues of gender and the family. This volume stems from a conference on Okin, and contains articles by some of the top feminist and political philosophers working today. Their aim is not to celebrate Okin's work, but to constructively engage with it and further its goals.
Rape, traditionally a spoil of war, became a weapon of war in the ethnic cleansing campaign in Bosnia. The ICTY Kunarac court responded by transforming wartime rape from an ignored crime into a crime against humanity. In its judgment, the court argued that the rapists violated the Muslim women’s right to sexual self-determination. Announcing this right to sexual integrity, the court transformed women’s vulnerability from an invitation to abuse into a mark of human dignity. This close reading of the trial, (...) guided by the phenomenological themes of the lived body and ambiguity, feminist critiques of the autonomous subject and the liberal sexual/social contract, critical legal theory assessments of human rights law and institutions, and psychoanalytic analyses of the politics of desire, argues that the court, by validating women’s epistemic authority (their right to establish the meaning of their experience of rape) and affirming the dignity of the vulnerable body (thereby dethroning the autonomous body as the embodiment of dignity), shows us that human rights instruments can be used to combat the epidemic of wartime rape if they are read as de-legitimating the authority of the masculine autonomous subject and the gender codes it anchors. (shrink)
The concept of ‘accounts’ – or linguistic strategies for neutralizing the negative social meanings of norm violation – has a long history in sociology. This work examines British and American women's accounts of cosmetic surgery. In the medical literature, feminist writings and the popular press, aesthetic plastic surgery has been associated with narcissism, psychological instability and self-hatred. Given these negative connotations, cosmetic surgery remains a practice requiring justification even as its popularity increases. Drawing on interview data, I argue that respondents' (...) efforts to account for cosmetic surgery vary according to the ‘repertoires of evaluation’ made available by their own nation and, particularly, by its healthcare culture. In the market-based US healthcare system, women justify cosmetic surgery by referring to their personal and financial ‘investments’ in physical attractiveness and well-being. Such explanations are less legitimate in Britain, where healthcare is considered a social right rather than a consumer good. In the latter context, women employ narratives that medicalize the pre-surgical body by stressing the physical pain and emotional distress that it caused. (shrink)
Clinical trials are a central mechanism in the production of medical knowledge. They are the gold standard by which such knowledge is evaluated. They are widespread both in the United States and internationally; a National Institute of Health database reports over 106,000 active industry and government-sponsored trials (National Institutes of Health n.d.). They are an engine of the economy. The work of trials is complex; multiple people with diverse interests working across multiple settings simultaneously participate in them, and they are (...) underwritten by multiple organizational structures and diverse funding mechanisms. In the past several years, concern about the ethics of clinical trials has spiked dramatically .. (shrink)
This paper considers the normative assessment of bonded labor from the perspectives of libertarianism and Paretian welfare economics. I argue that neither theory can account for our objections to bonded labor arrangements; moreover, they fail in interesting ways. Reflecting on their normative failures focuses us on other considerations besides individual choice and efficiency. Such considerations include: the effects of labor markets on workers' preferences and capacities; the exploitation of the vulnerabilities of the poor; and the permanent binding of one person (...) to another. (shrink)
I argue that the tragedies envisioned by the Symposium are two, both of which are introduced in the dialogue: (i) within months of Agathon's victory, half the characters who celebrated with him suffer death or exile on charges of impiety; (ii) Socrates is executed weeks after the dramatic date of the frame. Thus the most defensible notion of tragedy across Plato's dialogues is a fundamentally epistemological one: if we do not know the good, we increase our risk of making mistakes (...) and of suffering what are sometimes their catastrophic consequences. (shrink)
A key focus for agri-food scholars today pertains to emerging “alternative food movements,” particularly their long-term viability, and their potential to induce transitions in our prevailing conventional global agri-food systems. One under-studied element in recent research on sustainability transitions more broadly is the role of disruptive events in the emergence or expansion of these movements. We present the findings of a case study of the effect of a sudden acute food safety crisis—bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease—on alternative beef (...) production in the Province of Alberta, Canada. Employing the conceptual lens of Sustainability Transition Theory, we explore the perspectives of conventional and alternative beef producers, treating alternative beef production as a niche operating within the dominant regime of global industrial agri-business. Three key findings are presented here. First, food safety risks and disruptive events can emerge as a direct consequence of the socio-ecological contradictions embedded in industrial agriculture, representing an opportunity for expansion of agricultural niches. Second, certain features of socio-economic regimes can also contribute to niche emergence, such as an economic system that disenfranchises beef-producing families. Finally, our study highlights the high level of diversity among niche agents and the complex and nuanced nature of their support for the niche. (shrink)
We present an instrument developed to explain to students the concept of the personal ethical threshold. The PET represents an individual's susceptibility to situational pressure in his or her organization that makes moral behavior more personally difficult. Further, the PET varies according to the moral intensity of the issue at hand, such that individuals are less vulnerable to situational pressure for issues of high moral intensity, i.e., those with greater consequences for others. A higher PET reflects an individual's greater likelihood (...) of adhering to the morally correct path, even in the face of high situational pressures and low moral intensity. PET questionnaires were completed by 506 students representing eight business schools throughout the United States. Relationships between respondents' PET and their gender, age, and major field of study, as well as the geographical location of their school, are explored. Results indicate that older students have higher PETs and that students attending schools in the northeastern part of the United States have lower PETs. These findings are discussed. It is argued that the PET instrument can be used to help students identify organizational pressures and intrapersonal processes that can impede their moral behavior in organizations. (shrink)
On February 22, 2001, three Bosnian Serb soldiers were found guilty of crimes against humanity. Their offense? Rape. This is the first time that rape has been pros-ecuted and condemned as a crime against humanity. Appealing to Jacques Derrida's democracy of the perhaps and Judith Butler's politics of performative contradiction, I see this judgment inaugurating a politics of the vulnerable body which challenges current understandings of evil, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Plato's Republic critiques Athenian democracy as practised during the Peloponnesian War years. The diseased city Socrates attempts to purge mirrors Athens in crucial particulars, and his proposals should be evaluated as counter-weights to existing institutions and practices, not as absolutes to be instantiated. Plato's assessment of the Athenian polity incorporates two strategies -- one rhetorical, the other argumentative -- both of which I address. Failure to consider Athens a catalyst for Socrates' arguments has led to the misconception that Plato was (...) dogmatically committed to a single political doctrine for all and for all time. (shrink)
This paper examines the problem of vituperative feedback from peer reviewers. We argue that such feedback is morally unacceptable, insofar as it humiliates authors and damages their dignity. We draw from social-psychological research to explore those aspects of the peer-review process in general and the anonymity of blind reviewing in particular that contribute to reviewers’ humiliating comments. We then apply Iris Murdoch's ideas about a virtuous consciousness and humility to make the case that peer referees have a moral obligation not (...) to humiliate the authors whose work they review. (shrink)
Because it consists of an entire family of specific theories derived from the same first principles, rational choice offers one approach to generate explanations that provide for micro-macro links, and to attack a wide variety of empirical problems in macrosociology. The aims of this paper are (1) to provide a bare skeleton of all rational choice arguments; (2) to demonstrate their applicability to a range of macrosociological concerns by reviewing a sample of both new and classic works; and (3) to (...) discuss the weaknesses of current rational choice theory and the possibilities for its future development. (shrink)
At the end of their article in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Business Ethics, Douglas R. May, Matthew T. Luth, and Catherine E. Schwoerer state that they are “hopeful in outlook” about the “evidence that business ethics instructors are….able to encourage students…to develop the courage to come forward even when pressures in organizations dictate otherwise”. We agree with May et al. that it is essential to augment students’ moral courage. However, it seems overly optimistic to believe that (...) this improvement will result from any course in business ethics. Indeed, we question the appropriateness of their measure of moral courage and assert that business ethics educators must purposely design their courses to develop students’ moral courage. In particular, we advocate introducing business ethics students to works of literature featuring protagonists who exercise moral courage in organizations. Fiction provides rich accessible narratives that show students worlds beyond their experience, awaken their imaginations, and evoke their emotions. Further, we highlight morally courageous exemplars because they inspire the cultivation of character. Joining those who underscore the role of virtue in business ethics education, we argue that exposure to moral exemplars in fiction will help students to build the moral courage they need to carry out ethical decisions in the workplace. Results from 46 students at the end of an MBA ethics course featuring moral courage provide preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of our approach. (shrink)