With each of our three criminal-law topics—defining offenses, apprehending suspects, and establishing punishments—we feel, I believe, strong moral resistance to the idea that our practices should be settled by a prospective-participant perspective. This becomes quite clear when we look at how the “reforms” suggested by institutional viewing might combine once we consider all three topics together: imagine a more extensive and swifter use of the death penalty in homicide cases coupled with somewhat lower standards of evidence; or think of backing (...) a strict-liability criminal statute with the death penalty. Of course, such “reforms” would increase the execution of innocents; but, their proponents will tell us, any penal system involves the punishment of some innocents, and, if it provides for the death penalty, the execution of some innocents. Moreover, why is it worse for innocents to be punished than for innocents to suffer an equivalent harm in some other way? Formulated from a prospective-participant perspective: Why not run a small risk of being innocently executed in exchange for reducing, much more significantly, the risk of dying prematurely in other ways? (shrink)
The question of what constitutes human flourishing elicits an extraordinary variety of responses, which suggests that there are not merely differences of opinion at work, but also different understandings of the question itself. So it may help to introduce some clarity into the question before starting work on one answer to it.
Since Hilary Putnam offered multiple realization as an empirical hypothesis in the 1960s, philosophical consensus has turned against the idea that mental processes are identifiable with brain processes, and multiple realization has become the keystone of the 'antireductive consensus' across philosophy of science. Thomas W. Polger and Lawrence A. Shapiro offer the first book-length investigation of multiple realization, which serves as a starting point to a series of philosophically sophisticated and empirically informed arguments that cast doubt on the generality (...) of multiple realization in the cognitive sciences. They argue that mind-brain identities have played an important role in the growth and achievements of the cognitive sciences, and suggest that there is little prospect for multiple realization in an empirically-based theory of mind. This leads Polger and Shapiro to offer an alternative framework for understanding explanations in the cognitive sciences, as well as in chemistry, biology, and other non-basic sciences. (shrink)
In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain -- that sensations are brain processes -- and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious processes, events, states, or properties are type- identical to biological processes, events, states, or properties -- a "tough-minded" account that maintains that minds are necessarily indentical to brains, a position held (...) by few current identity theorists. Polger's approach to what William James called the "great blooming buzzing confusion" of consciousness begins with the idea that we need to know more about brains in order to understand consciousness fully, but recognizes that biology alone cannot provide the entire explanation. Natural Minds takes on issues from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, moving freely among them in its discussion.Polger begins by answering two major objections to identity theory -- Hilary Putnam's argument from multiple realizability and Saul Kripke's modal argument against mind-brain identity. He then offers a detailed account of functionalism and functional realization, which offer the most serious obstacle to consideration of identity theory. Polger argues that identity theory can itself satisfy the kind of explanatory demands that are often believed to favor functionalism. (shrink)
The connection between property rights and free-speech rights has most often surfaced in conflicts between the two. In his classic formulation of the problem, journalist A. J. Liebling mocked the First Amendment's free-press clause by noting that ownership of a printing press was required in order to actually enjoy the constitutional protection. In an important case decided in 1980, Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a group wishing to circulate political petitions at a shopping center (...) had a constitutional right to do so. There the Court found that such governmentally enforced access to private property did “not amount to an unconstitutional infringement of [the shopping center owners'] property rights under the Taking Clause of the Fifth Amendment….”. (shrink)
Trust is difficult to define. Instead of doing so, I propose that the best way to understand the concept is through a genealogical account. I show how a root notion of trust arises out of some basic features of what it is for humans to live socially, in which we rely on others to act cooperatively. I explore how this concept acquires resonances of hope and threat, and how we analogically apply this in related but different contexts. The genealogical account (...) explains both why the notion has such value for us and why it is difficult to define. (shrink)
May lethal autonomous weapons systems—‘killer robots ’—be used in war? The majority of writers argue against their use, and those who have argued in favour have done so on a consequentialist basis. We defend the moral permissibility of killer robots, but on the basis of the non-aggregative structure of right assumed by Just War theory. This is necessary because the most important argument against killer robots, the responsibility trilemma proposed by Rob Sparrow, makes the same assumptions. We show that the (...) crucial moral question is not one of responsibility. Rather, it is whether the technology can satisfy the requirements of fairness in the re-distribution of risk. Not only is this possible in principle, but some killer robots will actually satisfy these requirements. An implication of our argument is that there is a public responsibility to regulate killer robots ’ design and manufacture. (shrink)
During the past ten years Integrative Social Contracts Theory (ISCT) has become part of the repertoire of specialized decision-oriented theories in the business ethics literature. The intention here is to (1)␣provide a brief overview of the structure and strengths of ISCT; (2) identify recurring themes in the extensive commentary on the theory including brief mention of how ISCT has been applied outside the business ethics literature; (3) describe where research appears to be headed; and (4) specify challenges faced by those (...) who seek to reform ISCT. Key themes in the critiquing literature relate to (a) the identification process for hypernorms; (b) justification of the recognition of hypernorms; (c) proposals for considering meso or meta norms; (d)␣clarification of the relationship between stakeholder concepts and ISCT; (e) problems with potentially unoccupied moral free space; (f) sources of ethical obligation within the ISCT framework; and (g) the potential role for concepts of stakeholder dialogue and engagement. (shrink)
According to the received view in philosophy of mind, mental states or properties are _realized_ by brain states or properties but are not identical to them. This view is often called _realization_ _physicalism_. Carl Gillett has recently defended a detailed formulation of the realization relation. However, Gillett’s formulation cannot be the relation that realization physicalists have in mind. I argue that Gillett’s “dimensioned” view of realization fails to apply to a textbook case of realization. I also argue Gillett counts as (...) realization some cases that should not count if realization physicalism is to be distinguished from its competitors in the usual ways. I conclude that the relation described by Gillett cannot be realization. (shrink)
Extant social contracts, deriving from communities of individuals, constitute a significant source of ethical norms in business. When found consistent with general ethical theories through the application of a fiItering test, these real social contracts generate prima facie duties of compliance on the part of those who expressly or impliedly consent to the terms of the social contract, and also on the part of those who take advantage of the instrumental value of the social contracts. Businesspeople typically participate in multiple (...) communities and, as a consequence, encounter conflicting ethical norms. Priority rules can be devised to resolve such conflicts. The framework of extant social contracts merges normative and theoretical research in business ethics and specifies a domain for empirical studies. (shrink)
This paper extends the discussion of guanxi beyond instrumental evaluations and advances a normative assessment of guanxi. Our discussion departs from previous analyses by not merely asking, Does guanxi work? but rather Should corporations use guanxi? The analysis begins with a review of traditional guanxi definitions and the changing economic and legal environment in China, both necessary precursors to understanding the role of guanxi in Chinese business transactions. This review leads us to suggest that there are distinct types of, and (...) uses for guanxi. We identify the potentially problematic aspects of certain forms of guanxi from a normative perspective, noting among other things, the close association of particular types of guanxi with corruption and bribery. We conclude that there are many different forms of guanxi that may have distinct impacts on economic efficiency and the well-being of ordinary Chinese citizens. Consistent with Donaldson and Dunfee (1999), we advocate a particularistic analysis of the different forms of guanxi. (shrink)
Consider what the brain-state theorist has to do to make good his claims. He has to specify a physical–chemical state such that any organism (not just a mammal) is in pain if and only if (a) it possesses a brain of suitable physical–chemical structure; and (b) its brain is in that physical–chemical state. This means that the physical–chemical state in question must be a possible state of a mammalian brain, a reptilian brain, a mollusc’s brain (octopuses are mollusca, and certainly (...) feel pain), etc. At the same time, it must not be a possible (physically possible) state of the brain of any physically possible creature that cannot feel pain. Even if such a state can be found, it must be nomologically certain that it will also be a state of the brain of any extraterrestrial life that may be found that will be capable of feeling pain before we can even entertain the supposition that it may be pain. It is not altogether impossible that such a state will be found... . But this is certainly an ambitious hypothesis. (Putnam 1967/1975, p. 436) The belief that mental states are multiply realized is now nearly universal among philosophers, as is the belief that this fact decisively refutes the identity theory. I argue that the empirical support for multiple realization does not justify the confidence that has been placed in it. In order for multiple realization of mental states to be an objection to the identity theory, the neurological differences among pains, for example, must be such as to guarantee that they are of distinct neurological kinds. But the phenomena traditionally cited do not provide evidence of that sort of variation. In particular, examples of neural plasticity do not provide such evidence. (shrink)
Feeling moved or touched can be accompanied by tears, goosebumps, and sensations of warmth in the centre of the chest. The experience has been described frequently, but psychological science knows little about it. We propose that labelling one’s feeling as being moved or touched is a component of a social-relational emotion that we term kama muta. We hypothesise that it is caused by appraising an intensification of communal sharing relations. Here, we test this by investigating people’s moment-to-moment reports of feeling (...) moved and touched while watching six short videos. We compare these to six other sets of participants’ moment-to-moment responses watching the same videos: respectively, judgements of closeness, reports of weeping, goosebumps, warmth in the centre of the chest, happiness, and sadness. Our eighth time series is expert ratings of communal sharing. Time series analyses show strong and consistent cross-correlations of feeling moved and touched and closeness with each other and with each of the three physiological variables and expert-rated communal sharing – but distinctiveness from happiness and sadness. These results support our model. (shrink)
This article develops a social epistemological analysis of Web-based search engines, addressing the following questions. First, what epistemic functions do search engines perform? Second, what dimensions of assessment are appropriate for the epistemic evaluation of search engines? Third, how well do current search engines perform on these? The article explains why they fulfil the role of a surrogate expert, and proposes three ways of assessing their utility as an epistemic tool—timeliness, authority prioritisation, and objectivity. “Personalisation” is a current trend in (...) Internet-delivered services, and consists in tailoring online content to the interests of the individual user. It is argued here that personalisation threatens the objectivity of search results. Objectivity is a public good; so there is a prima facie case for government regulation of search engines. (shrink)
Contributors from several countries discuss the central moral issues arising in the emerging global order: the responsibilities of the strongest societies, moral priorities for the next decades, and the role of intellectuals in view of the huge gap between widely expressed moral ambitions and prevailing political and economic realities.
With the increased attention paid to ethical issues in business practice, there is interest in the ethics gap between the U.S. and the U.K. and in the ramifications for educating college students for business management positions. This paper examines the differences in ethics judgments between U.S. and U.K. business students. The results indicate that differences in their demographic profiles do not influence their ethics judgments. However, consistently higher business ethics of female students from both countries are discussed in relation to (...) providing business ethics education. (shrink)
Moral universalism centrally involves the idea that the moral assessment of persons and their conduct, of social rules and states of affairs, must be based on fundamental principles that do not, explicitly or covertly, discriminate arbitrarily against particular persons or groups. This general idea is explicated in terms of three conditions. It is then applied to the discrepancy between our criteria of national and global economic justice. Most citizens of developed countries are unwilling to require of the global economic order (...) what they assuredly require of any national economic order, for example, that its rules be under democratic control, that it preclude life-threatening poverty as far as is reasonably possible. Without a plausible justification, such a double standard constitutes covert arbitrary discrimination against the global poor. Key Words: contextualism corruption discrimination Rawls resource exports world poverty. (shrink)
Firms possessing a unique competency to rescue the victims of a human catastrophe have a minimum moral obligation to devote substantial resources toward best efforts to aid the victims. The minimum amount that firms should devote to rescue is the largest sum of their most recent year’s investment in social initiatives, their five-year trend, their industry’s average, or the national average. Financial exigency may justify a lower level of investment. Alternative social investments may be continued if they have an equally (...) compelling rationale. These duties apply to the global pharmaceutical companies in the context of the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. (shrink)
There is an oft-neglected perspective which the topic of health equity raises: As imposers of the rules, we are inclined to think that harms we inflict through the rules have greater moral weight than like harms we merely fail to prevent or mitigate.
Difficult moral issues in economic life, such as evaluating the impact of hostile takeovers and plant relocations or determining the obligations of business to the environment, constitute the raison d'etre of business ethics. Yet, while the ultimate resolution of such issues clearly requires detailed, normative analysis, a shortcoming of business ethics is that to date it has failed to develop an adequate normative theory. 1 The failing is especially acute when it results in an inability to provide a basis for (...) fine-grained analyses of issues. Both general moral theories and stakeholder theory seem incapable of expressing the moral complexity necessary to provide practical normative guidance for many business ethics contexts. (shrink)
Fifty years ago J. J. C. Smart published his pioneering paper, “Sensations and Brain Processes.” It is appropriate to mark the golden anniversary of Smart’s publication by considering how well his article has stood up, and how well the identity theory itself has fared. In this paper I first revisit Smart’s text, reflecting on how it has weathered the years. Then I consider the status of the identity theory in current philosophical thinking, taking into account the objections and replies that (...) Smart discussed as well as some that he did not anticipate. Finally, I offer a brief manifesto for the identity theory, providing a small list of the claims that I believe contemporary identity theorist should accept. As it turns out, these are more or less the ones that Smart defended fifty years ago. (shrink)
Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science. Despite some recent advances, multiple realization remains a largely misunderstood thesis. Consider the dispute between Lawrence Shapiro and Carl Gillett over the application of Shapiro’s recipe for deciding when we have genuine cases of multiple realization. I argue that Gillett follows many philosophers in mistakenly supposing that multiple realization is absolute and transitive. Both of these are problematic. They are tempting only when we extract the question of multiple realization from the explanatory context in which (...) it is invoked. Anchoring multiple realizability in its theoretical context provides grounds for arbitrating disagreements. Doing so, I argue, favors the view advanced by Shapiro. (shrink)
Social contract is rapidly becoming one of the significant alternatives for analyzing ethical issues in business. Contractarian approachesemphasizing consent as a means of justifying principles can provide needed context for rendering normative judgements conceming economic behaviors. Current research issues include developing tests of consent for both hypothetical and extant social contracts, and empirically testing the assumptions of the major contractarian approaches. Open questions include exploring the relationship between contractarian business ethics and other approaches, such as stakeholder management and virtue based (...) ethics; and analysis of the intersection of contractarian approaches with the findings and assumptions of the field of moral psychology. Finally, the managerial utility of social contract based approaches needs to be explored with emphasis on identifying “translator” concepts. (shrink)
Following the tradition of classical liberalism, Kant's political philosophy and theory of justice focus on the relation between individual freedom, as the central value of political life, and the state, whose primary normative function is both to restrain and protect individual liberty. In this accessible interpretation of Kant's political philosophy, Allen D. Rosen focuses on the relation among justice, political authority (the state), and individual liberty. He offers interpretations of the ethical bases of Kant's view of justice, of the structure (...) of his taxonomy of duties, and of his understanding of social welfare legislation. Arguing against the grain of much recent scholarly commentary, Rosen asserts that Kant's principles of justice are direct corollaries of the Categorical Imperative and that Kant does not support an absolute or even near-absolute duty of obedience to governments. He also maintains that Kant has principled and important reasons for repudiating a right of revolution and that Kant is not, as he is almost always taken to be, an advocate of the nightwatchman or minimal state. The Kant that emerges from Rosen's pages is an appealing and surprisingly modern philosopher, whose preoccupation with individual freedom still resonates in contemporary political and philosophical debates, and whose attempts to define the proper limits of individual liberty remain relevant even at the end of the twentieth century. (shrink)
My topic is the confluence of two recently active philosophical research programs. One research program concerns the metaphysics of realization. The other research program concerns scientific explanation in terms of mechanisms. In this paper I introduce a distinction between descriptive and explanatory approaches to realization. I then use this distinction to argue that a well-known account of realization, due to Carl Gillett, is incompatible with a well-known account of mechanistic explanation, due to Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, and Carl Craver (MDC, (...) Philos Sci 57: 1-25, 2000). This is surprising, not least of which because Gillett has cited MDC's work as evidence that his account of realization is the right way to think about realization in the sciences. (shrink)
Multiple realizability has recently attractedrenewed attention, for example Bickle, 1998;Bechtel and Mundale, 1999; Bechtel and McCauley,1999; Heil, 1999; and Sober, 1999. Many of thesewriters revisit the topic of multiplerealizability in order to show that someversion of a mind-brain identity theory isviable. Although there is much of value inthese recent explorations, they do not addressthe underlying intuitions that have vexedphilosophers of mind since Hilary Putnamintroduced the concern (1967). I argue that thestandard way of construing multiplerealizability is a much stronger claim thanthat (...) of Putnam's intuition alone. I distinguishfour interpretations of the multiplerealizability intuition. Some commonformulations of multiple realizability arealmost certainly true, while others are not atall plausible. I argue that the plausible formsof multiple realizability do not impugn theprospects for a mind-brain Identity Theory. (shrink)
We citizens of the affluent countries tend to discuss our obligations toward the distant needy mainly in terms of donations and transfers, assistance and redistribution: How much of our wealth, if any, should we give away to the hungry abroad? Using one prominent theorist to exemplify this way of conceiving the problem, I show how it is a serious error — and a very costly one for the global poor.
A marketplace of morality (MOM) is a place where individuals act under the influence of their moral desires. A MOM produces anoutput representing the aggregate acted-upon moral preferences of its participants. Individual behavior is influenced by POPs, or passions of propriety. People implement POP preferences when they buy stock, purchase goods and services, choose jobs and so on. Firms respond by social cause marketing and other devices which encourage customers to align their social preferences with those represented by the firm. (...) The outputs of MOM constitute an important reference point for understanding business morality. Even so, the normative status of MOM outputs must be subject to principles of universal morality. A principle of greater preponderance is offered as a means for determining when a MOM output is ethically legitimate.A theory of moral choice, based upon the concept of a MOM, may have potential for providing a unifying framework integrating moralpreferences, reasoning, behaviors and organizational contexts with broader political and economic concepts. (shrink)
The view that the relationship between minds and brains can be thought of on the model of software and hardware is pervasive. The most common versions of the view, known as functionalism in philosophy of mind, hold that minds are realized by brains.
In the recent case of Nike v. Kasky both sides argued that their standard for distinguishing commercial speech from political speechwould create the better policy for ensuring accurate and complete disclosure of social information by corporations. Using insights frominformation economics, we argue that neither standard will achieve the policy goal of optimal truthful disclosure. Instead, we argue that the appropriate standard is one of optimal truthful disclosure—balancing the value of speech against the costs of misinformation. Specifically, we argue that an (...) SEC-sanctioned safe harbor available under a closely supervised system for social reporting will bring about optimal truthful disclosure. The scheme is intended to enhance stakeholder confidence in corporate social and political commentary, while at the same time encouraging corporations to provide accurate information in a fair playing field of public debate. (shrink)
Governments and their international agencies conceive of the eradication of hunger and poverty as a worthy wish that will eventually be realized through economic growth. They also make great cosmetic efforts to present as good-looking trend pictures as they can. Citizens ought to insist that the eradication of severe deprivations is a human rights correlative duty that permits no avoidable delay. Academics ought to collaborate toward providing a systematic alternative monitoring of what progress has really been made against undernourishment and (...) other povertyrelated deprivations. (shrink)
Social investing, though not yet fully mainstream, has the potential to obtain such status. Questions relating to the future of social investing include the following. (1) What properly falls within the ambit of social investing? Assuming that no single definition of social responsibility is feasible, what then are the limits? (2) What do we need to know about investor psychology concerning social investing? What motivates people to buy socially screened investments and why do they sometimes act inconsistently? (3) How can (...) we improve the measures of social performance? Is it possible to develop GAAP and GAAS equivalents for social reporting? (4) Should social reports by firms be audited? If so, how? (5) What sorts of public policies are necessary to support the social screening of investments? (shrink)
G. E. Moore argues that goodness is an intrinsic non-natural property that supervenes irreducibly on the intrinsic natural properties of its bearers. Accordingly, it is often supposed that “Moorean” supervenience is incompatible with physicalism, a naturalistic thesis. In this paper I argue that Moorean supervenience is not in itself incompatible with physicalism, Moore’s ethical non-naturalism notwithstanding. Understanding why will help us to better appreciate the full range of resources available to physicalists.