The purpose of this paper is to challenge what is often called the “Uniqueness” thesis. According to this thesis, given one’s total evidence, there is a unique rational doxastic attitude that one can take to any proposition. It is sensible for defenders of Uniqueness to commit to an accompanying principle that: when some agent A has equal epistemic reason both to believe that p and to believe that not p, the unique epistemically rational doxastic attitude for A to adopt with (...) respect to whether p is the suspension of judgment. In this paper, I offer a case wherein the agent has equal epistemic reason both to believe that p and to believe that not p, but the agent is not epistemically required to suspend judgment about whether p. Furthermore, the case is such that there seems to be no uniquely rational attitude for the agent to adopt. (shrink)
Extreme narcissistic organizations are unable to behave ethically because they lack a moral identity. While such organizations are not necessarily unethical intentionally, they become self-obsessed and use a sense of entitlement, self-aggrandizement, denial, and rationalizations to justify anything they do. Extreme narcissistic organizations might develop formal ethics programs, but such programs will have little effect on behavior.
Technological advancements in information systems over the past few decades have enabled firms to work with the major suppliers and customers in their supply chain in order to improve the performance of the entire channel. Tremendous benefits for all parties can be realized by sharing information and coordinating operations to reduce inventory requirements, improve quality, and increase customer satisfaction; but the companies must collaborate effectively to bring these gains to fruition. We consider two alternative methods of managing these interfirm supply (...) chain relationships in this article. The first, which we have named “dictatorial collaboration,” occurs when a dominant supply chain entity assumes control of the channel and forces the other firms to follow its edicts. We compare and contrast this method with “sustainable collaboration,” in which the parties share resources and engage in joint problem solving to improve the performance of the system as a whole. We use a virtue ethics lens to describe these methods of relationship management to suggest that sustainable collaboration is preferable to dictatorial collaboration both operationally and ethically in the long run. (shrink)
To assess ethics pedagogy in science and engineering, we developed a new tool called the Engineering and Science Issues Test (ESIT). ESIT measures moral judgment in a manner similar to the Defining Issues Test, second edition, but is built around technical dilemmas in science and engineering. We used a quasi-experimental approach with pre- and post-tests, and we compared the results to those of a control group with no overt ethics instruction. Our findings are that several (but not all) stand-alone classes (...) showed a significant improvement compared to the control group when the metric includes multiple stages of moral development. We also found that the written test had a higher response rate and sensitivity to pedagogy than the electronic version. We do not find significant differences on pre-test scores with respect to age, education level, gender or political leanings, but we do on whether subjects were native English speakers. We did not find significant differences on pre-test scores based on whether subjects had previous ethics instruction; this could suggest a lack of a long-term effect from the instruction. (shrink)
In this paper I give a novel argument for the view that epistemic normative reasons (or evidence) need not be facts. I first argue that the nature of normative reasons is uniform, such that our positions about the factivity of reasons should agree across normative realms –– whether epistemic, moral, practical, or otherwise. With that in mind, I proceed in a somewhat indirect way. I argue that if practical motivating reasons are not factive, then practical normative reasons are not factive. (...) If it is possible to act rationally in the light of a falsehood, as I will say, then some good reasons must be falsehoods. The implication of this argument is perhaps surprising: for one to firmly establish the view that epistemic normative reasons are factive, one must discredit the view that practical motivating reasons are not factive. (shrink)
The most reliable source for a reconstruction of Galileo's progress toward a science of motion is the series of undated fragmentary notes on that subject preserved in Codex A of the Galilean manuscripts at Florence. A gathering of such fragments was published by Favaro in the National Edition of Galileo's works, following the Discorsi. The more sophisticated fragments are clearly associated with the composition of that work, and show a definite and consistent understanding of acceleration. Eliminating those, it will be (...) found that the earlier notes fall into recognizable groups. First, there are some that refer to “moment of gravity”, or to the impetus of a body along a line of descent, and are associated with the discussion of inclined planes in De motu. Second, some refer to descent along arcs and chords of circles, associated with Galileo's letter of 29 November 1602 to Guido Ubaldo. These first two groups of notes do not explicitly refer to accelerated motion, and should not be assumed to do so implicity, where such an assumption can be avoided. (shrink)
Community gardens are of increasing interest to scholars, policymakers, and community organizations but there has been little systematic study of community garden management at a broad scale. This study complements case study research by revealing shared experiences of community garden management across different contexts. In partnership with the American Community Gardening Association, we developed an online questionnaire. Results from 445 community garden organizations across the US and Canada reveal common themes as well as differences that are particularly significant across different (...) organizational sizes. The findings suggest that organizers see multiple benefits, and respondents confirmed recent expansion of gardening efforts. Analysis then focuses on challenges, which are closely related to garden management. We address garden losses as well as challenges to routine operation. Key challenges included funding, participation, land, and materials. We developed a typology based on organization size, to reveal distinctions between small organizations , medium-sized organizations , large organizations and very large organizations . These categories shed light on different needs for funding, land, material, and participation. Together, this analysis suggests that community gardens can be linked through the work it takes to sustain them rather than specific causes or outcomes. Community gardens can be better integrated into local food systems through analysis of how people involved with this work navigate these shared processes. (shrink)
With the advent of social networking websites, privacy concerns have reached a new high. One particularly problematic concern entails employers requesting login credentials to popular social media platforms. While many people may consider this request unethical, they may not agree on the reasons it is unethical. One reason may be to blame the behavior on egoism. Egoism, however, comes in multiple flavors, not all of which would agree that violating privacy is acceptable. In this paper, we articulate how one egoist (...) perspective provides a defense of privacy in the face of unjust information access requests. Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, offers an egoist approach to ethics that values individual privacy on rational, self-interested grounds. By applying Objectivist principles to a business context, we observe that businesspeople should not violate other people’s privacy for short-term gains. Furthermore, we observe that privacy can be protected without distinct right to privacy. Rather, Objectivism’s conception of rational self-interest suggests that long-term flourishing is the proper end of individuals and businesses, predicated on, among other things, respecting privacy and enforcing individual rights. (shrink)
The first attempted derivation by Galileo of the law relating space and time in free fall that has survived is preserved on an otherwise unidentified sheet bound among his manuscripts preserved at Florence. It is undoubtedly closely associated with a letter from Galileo to Paolo Sarpi, dated 16 October 1604, which somehow found its way into the Seminary of Pisa, where it is still preserved. Those two documents, together with the letter from Sarpi to Galileo which seems to have inspired (...) them, are translated in full below. Sarpi's letter, dated 9 October 1604, suggests that recent oral discussions of problems of motion had recently taken place between the two men. It reads as follows:“In sending you the enclosure, it occurs to me to propose to you a problem to resolve, and another that seems to me paradoxical. (shrink)
There is a common view that the utilitarian theory of John Stuart Mill is morally realist and involves a strong kind of practical obligation. This article argues for two negative theses and a positive thesis. The negative theses are that Mill is not a moral realist and that he does not believe in certain kinds of obligations, those involving external reasons and those I call robust obligations, obligations with a particular, strong kind of practical authority. The positive thesis is that (...) Mill’s metaethical position can be interpreted as a Humean constructivist view, a metaethical view that is constructivist about value and entails the existence of practical reasons, but not external reasons or robust obligations. I argue that a Humean constructivist reading of Mill’s theory is reasonable, and strengthens Mill’s argument from desire for the value of happiness, an important but notoriously weak aspect of his theory. (shrink)
The approach to critical realism, by D. Drake.--Pragmatism versus the pragmatist, by A. O. Lovejoy.--Critical realism and the possibility of knowledge, by J. B. Pratt.--The problem of error, by A. K. Rogers.--Three proofs of realism, by G. Santayana.--Knowledge and its categories, by R. W. Sellars.--On the nature of the datum, by C. A. Strong.
New forms of information technology, such as email, webpages and groupware, are being rapidly adopted. Intended to improve efficiency and effectiveness, these technologies also have the potential to radically alter the way people communicate in organizations. The effects can be positive or negative. This paper explores how technology can encourage or discourage moral dialogue -- communication that is open, honest, and respectful of participants. It develops a framework that integrates formal properties of ideal moral discourse, based on Habermas' theory of (...) communicative action, with properties of informal communication that help sustain good moral conversations. Ten criteria distilled from these works form the basis of a template that can be used for assessing the positive and negative impacts of emerging information technologies on moral dialogue. (shrink)
We believe that the professional responsibility of bioscience and biotechnology professionals includes a social responsibility to contribute to the resolution of ethically fraught policy problems generated by their work. It follows that educators have a professional responsibility to prepare future professionals to discharge this responsibility. This essay discusses two pilot projects in ethics pedagogy focused on particularly challenging policy problems, which we call “fractious problems”. The projects aimed to advance future professionals’ acquisition of “fractious problem navigational” skills, a set of (...) skills designed to enable broad and deep understanding of fractious problems and the design of good policy resolutions for them. A secondary objective was to enhance future professionals’ motivation to apply these skills to help their communities resolve these problems. The projects employed “problem based learning” courses to advance these learning objectives. A new assessment instrument, “Skills for Science/Engineering Ethics Test”, was designed and administered to measure the success of the courses in doing so. This essay first discusses the rationale for the pilot projects, and then describes the design of the pilot courses and presents the results of our assessment using SkillSET in the first pilot project and the revised SkillSET 2.0 in the second pilot project. The essay concludes with discussion of observations and results. (shrink)
New employees face a variety of life and career transitions in early adulthood. This paper explores these transitions that shape personal and career identity. A supervisor can play a central role in facilitating employee development during these times but may be unwilling or ill-prepared to do so. At other times he/she may provide assistance that is unwanted and inappropriate to the employee's developmental needs. The paper develops a framework for examining the supervisor's ethical responsibility to facilitate employee development and provides (...) guidelines for managing these transitions. (shrink)
The Protagoras features the first known venture into detailed textual interpretation in the Western intellectual tradition. Yet if Socrates is to be taken at his wordat the close of his hermeneutic contest with Protagoras, this venture is to be regarded as a playful demonstration of the worthlessness of texts for aiding in the pursuit of knowledge. This essay is an attempt to view Socrates’ puzzling remarks on this point within their dramatic and historical contexts. I argue that, far from having (...) us lay our inherited texts aside, we can find in the Protagoras a reorientation to the linked activities of reading and dialogue, where we need not be forced to choose between merely using our own unaided voices and relying upon the voices of others in the project of philosophic education. (shrink)