Is morality rational? In this book Gauthier argues that moral principles are principles of rational choice. He proposes a principle whereby choice is made on an agreed basis of cooperation, rather than according to what would give an individual the greatest expectation of value. He shows that such a principle not only ensures mutual benefit and fairness, thus satisfying the standards of morality, but also that each person may actually expect greater utility by adhering to morality, even though the choice (...) did not have that end primarily in view. In resolving what may appear to be a paradox, the author establishes morals on the firm foundation of reason. Gauthier's argument includes an account of value, linking it to preference and utility; a discussion of the curcumstances in which morality is unnecessary; and an application of morals by agreement to relations between peoples at different levels of development and different generations. Finally, he reflects on the assumptions about individuality and community made by his account of rationality and morality. (shrink)
Economic man seeks to maximize utility. The rationality of economic man is assumed, and is identified with the aim of utility-maximization. But may rational activity correctly be identified with maximizing activity? The object of this essay is to explore, and in part to answer, this question.This is not an issue solely, or perhaps even primarily, about the presuppositions of economics. The two great modern schools of moral and political thought in the English-speaking world, the contractarian and the utilitarian, identify rationality (...) with maximization, and bring morality into their equations as well. To the contractarian, rational man enters civil society to maximize his expectation of well-being, and morality is that system of principles of action which rational men collectively adopt to maximize their well-being. To the utilitarian, the rational and moral individual seeks the maximum happiness of mankind, with which he identifies his own maximum happiness. (shrink)
The conception of social relationships as contractual lies at the core of our ideology. Indeed, that core is constituted by the intersection of this conception with the correlative conceptions of human activity as appropriate and of rationality as utility-maximizing. My concern is to clarify this thesis and to enhance its descriptive plausibility as a characterization of our ideology, but to undermine its normative plausibility as ideologically effective.
This article contributes to the development of a professional responsibility theory of public relations ethics. Toward that end, we examine the roles of a public relations practitioner as a professional, an institutional advocate, and the public conscience of institutions served. In the article, we review previously suggested theories of public relations ethics and propose a new theory based on the public relations professional's dual obligations to serve client organizations and the public interest.
Law is the expression of public reason. I want to explicate and justify this assertion, which lies at the core of a normative theory of law. Primarily, I want to focus on the concept of public reason, showing what it is, relating it to private or individual reason, and finding its rationale in that relation. I shall then argue that public reason exhausts the normative space where law may be found. Appealing to public reason, I shall show that the authority (...) that law claims over the judgments and actions of citizens must ultimately be grounded in their own rationality. (shrink)
Feminist critics of the stigmatization of prostitution such as Martha Nussbaum and Sybil Schwarzenbach argue that the features of the practice do not, or at least need not, differ essentially from those of other more respected sorts of labor. I argue that even the least degraded forms of the current practice of prostitution remain objectionable on feminist grounds because patrons demand a semblance of sexual self-expression that engages discriminatory beliefs about women's sexuality.
Psychologists live in a globalizing world where traditional boundaries are fading and, therefore, increasingly work with persons from diverse cultural backgrounds. The Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists provides a moral framework of universally acceptable ethical principles based on shared human values across cultures. The application of its moral framework in developing codes of ethics and reviewing current codes may help psychologists to respond ethically in a rapidly changing world. In this article, a model is presented to demonstrate how (...) to use the Universal Declaration as a guide for creating or reviewing a code of ethics. This model may assist psychologists in various parts of the world in establishing codes of ethics that will promote global understanding and cooperation while respecting cultural differences. The article describes the steps involved in the application of the model and provides concrete examples as well as several useful comments and suggestions. This guide for the application of the Universal Declaration may also be used for consultation, education, and training relative to the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists. (shrink)
This papers attempts to bridge business ethics to corporate social responsibility including the social and environmental dimensions. The objective of the paper is to suggest an improvement of the most commonly used corporate environmental management tool, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The method includes two stages. First, more phases are added to the life-cycle of a product. Second, social criteria that measure the social performance of a product are introduced. An application of this “extended” LCA tool is given.
Current discussion of the normative issues surrounding secession is both helped and hindered by the existence of but one philosophic treatment of these issues sufficiently systematic and comprehensive to qualify as a theory of secession - Allen Buchanan’s. He provides the unique focal point, and so simplifies the task of those who seek to begin from the present state of the art. But in providing the unique focal point, Buchanan complicates the task of those who view, or think they view, (...) secession rather differently than he does. He defends ’a moral right to secede’ but a very qualified right, focusing on state-perpetrated injustice, the preservation of group culture and, in extreme cases, the literal survival of group members. And Buchanan further insists that where preservation of group culture is at stake, ’Neither the state nor any third party has a valid claim to the seceding territory’ -or such a claim is waived so that ’secession in order to preserve a culture is permissible if both parties consent to it’- a condition that he thinks may come to apply to the situation of Quebec. (shrink)
Are Hobbes's laws of nature to be understood primarily as theorems of reason, or as commands of God, or as commands of the civil sovereign? Each of these accounts can be given textual support; each identifies a role that the laws may be thought to play. Examining the full range of textual references, discussing the place of the laws of nature in Hobbes's argument, and considering how the laws may be known, give strongest support to the first of the three (...) accounts, that the laws are primarily rational precepts and only secondarily civil and divine commands. (shrink)
Two insights of psychology on which we would like to draw are that people react to law in more complex ways than rational-choice models assume and that good people sometimes do bad things. With that starting point, this article provides a behavioral perspective on some of the factors that policymakers seeking to reduce the level of misconduct in the pharmaceutical industry should consider. Effective regulation and enforcement need to address the following questions: Who are the regulation's targeted actors — researchers (...) or executives? Are the regulations directed toward research or marketing activities? Is the misconduct a product of explicit rational choice or implicit processes of which the actor is unaware? Is it reasonable to address all types of misconduct using the same approach? Certain misconduct — particularly by researchers — is due to automatic, intuitive, and unconscious decisions and needs to be addressed through different means than those used to address misconduct due to controlled, deliberate decisions. This article therefore recommends using different sorts of regulation depending on the context. It suggests more tailored enforcement mechanisms that will be sensitive to the pharmaceutical researchers’ unique work motivations and to their awareness or lack of awareness of their own misconduct. (shrink)
To sell a new drug, pharmaceutical companies must discover a compound, run clinical trials to test its efficacy and safety, get it approved by regulatory bodies, produce the drug, and market it. As this process brings the drug through so many hands, there are risks of many kinds of corruption. The pharmaceutical industry has recently gone from being one of the most admired industries to being described by the majority of Americans as “dishonest, unethical, and more concerned with profits than (...) with individual and public health.” Legal scholar Marc Rodwin suggested that the pharmaceutical industry can be viewed through the lens of institutional corruption as defined by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig, whereby widespread or systemic practices undermine the main purposes of drug therapy — healing illness, preventing medical problems, and alleviating suffering. Many drugs do serve these goals, yet a significant number of drugs churned out by pharmaceutical companies are ineffective or have dangerous side effects that could have been predicted had the companies conducted the appropriate research. (shrink)
Lastly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of a God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all.These words, from Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration, ring unconvincingly in our ears. They affirm that the bonds of human society hold only those who believe in God. This affirmation breaks into two propositions: the bonds of (...) human society are promises, covenants, and oaths; promises, covenants, and oaths hold only those who believe in God.Much might be said about the first proposition, but not here. Whether it rings unconvincingly in our ears, surely the second does, and it is this which I shall address. The suppos1t1on that moral conventions depend on religious belief has become alien to our way of thinking. Modern moral philosophers do not meet it with vigorous denials or refutations; usually they ignore it. (shrink)
Towards the ends of their reviews, Annette Baier and Jean Hampton allow, if only momentarily, the real spectres to surface. Baier writes, ‘Gauthier rightly sees the dangers of exploitation and subjection inherent in a kin-based and affection-dependent morality, so purports to try for something totally different. Even if our moral natures cannot recognize themselves in Gauthier’s version of them, the problem that drives the attempt [for an individualist and unsentimental morality] is a real one, and so far, I think, an (...) unsolved one; unsolved for morality as well as for moral theory.’ Hampton writes, ‘Gauthier will point out that anyone who insists that a human being has objective value must develop a theory that will not only justify that claim but also explain what reason one would ever have for respecting this value. I believe this is a challenge one has no choice but to accept, given what the moral facts are.’. (shrink)
Mention of the name of Friedrich Schiller among both critics and defenders of Kant's moral philosophy has most often been with reference to the well known quip:“Gladly I serve my friends, but alas I do it with pleasure.Hence I am plagued with doubt that I am not a virtuous person.““Sure, your only resource is to try to despise them entirely,And then with aversion to do what your duty enjoins you.''This attention, however, has served to obscure the fact that Schiller truly (...) intended his remark as a joke, representing a serious, if understandable, misinterpretation of Kantian morality. Though Schiller's various attempts to articulate a theory of moral motivation include important divergences from Kant's account, they represent a response to a set of problems that arise in the context of Kantian moral theory. As such, they may be of greatest interest to moralists who are working within the Kantian tradition. In this paper, I clarify certain points of Schiller's critique of Kant's account of moral motivation and place them in the context of his broader project of reconciling Kantianism and an ethics of virtue. (shrink)