Christians have historically differed as to whether the wrongness of an act is to be located in the objective character of the act or in the intention of the agent. By blurring this distinction, Alain Epp Weaver fails to see the real principle of consistency that unites Augustine's analyses of warfare and lying. Likewise, by not appreciating the fact that Augustine analyzes the wrongness of the act in terms of intention whereas Yoder analyzes its wrongness in terms of (...) its objective character, Weaver proposes a conversation between two figures who lack the framework of shared assumptions that makes engagement in conversation possible. (shrink)
Alain Epp Weaver's analysis of the theological foundations of Augustine's proscription of all lies in all circumstances does more than improve our understanding of Augustine. In drawing a plausible and illuminating parallel between the theological logic of Augustine and the theological logic of John Howard Yoder, Weaver not only succeeds in defending the credibility of Christian pacifism but also provides support for interpreting Yoder as a biblical realist. Moreover, the divergence between Weaver and Christopher Kirwan in (...) their critical assessments of the cogency of Augustine's treatment of lying serves to throw into relief the differences between secular philosophical ethics and theological ethics, incidentally suggesting why it is often difficult for twentieth-century thinkers to understand and evaluate premodern texts. (shrink)
Pacifism is routinely criticized as sectarian, incoherent, and preoccupied with moral purity at the expense of responsibility. The author contends that the pacifism of John Howard Yoder is vulnerable to none of these charges and defends this claim by establishing parallels between Yoder's analysis of killing and Augustine's analysis of lying. Although, within the terms of his own argument, Augustine's rejection of all lying as unjust is consistent with his condoning of some killing as just, the author shows that given (...) a different conception of the defining characteristic of God , Augustine's theological argument against lying would become an argument against violence. The author therefore suggests that Yoder's rejection of killing is no more sectarian, incoherent, or irresponsible than Augustine's rejection of lying. (shrink)
Myra Hird and Harlan Weaver have been invited by the editors of this special issue to enter into discussion with each other – to conduct a series of interchanges – because of the careful attention their research has paid to the ways in which transness as a lived reality is ontologized in humans, non-human animals, bacteria, and viruses. With this issue’s interchanges, we would like to further the conversation on critically approaching the consequences of merging transness with animality. In (...) the following series of four essay questions, we particularly invited each of these scholars to consider moments of classificatory tension in which taxonomies of human and non-human become inflected and redirected by the categories of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and geopolitical location. (shrink)
In an attempt to improve upon Alexander Pruss’s work (The principle of sufficient reason: A reassessment, pp. 240–248, 2006), I (Weaver, Synthese 184(3):299–317, 2012) have argued that if all purely contingent events could be caused and something like a Lewisian analysis of causation is true (per, Lewis’s, Causation as influence, reprinted in: Collins, Hall and paul. Causation and counterfactuals, 2004), then all purely contingent events have causes. I dubbed the derivation of the universality of causation the “Lewisian argument”. The (...) Lewisian argument assumed not a few controversial metaphysical theses, particularly essentialism, an incommunicable-property view of essences (per Plantinga’s, Actualism and possible worlds, reprinted in: Davidson (ed.) Essays in the metaphysics of modality, 2003), and the idea that counterfactual dependence is necessary for causation. There are, of course, substantial objections to such theses. While I think a fight against objections to the Lewisian argument can be won, I develop, in what follows, a much more intuitive argument for the universality of causation which takes as its inspiration a result from Frederic B. Fitch’s work (J Symb Logic 28(2):135–142, 1963) [with credit to who we now know was Alonzo church’s, Referee Reports on Fitch’s Definition of value, in: (Salerno (ed.), New essays on the knowability paradox, 2009)] that if all truths are such that they are knowable, then (counter-intuitively) all truths are known. The resulting Church–Fitch proof for the universality of causation is preferable to the Lewisian argument since it rests upon far weaker formal and metaphysical assumptions than those of the Lewisian argument. (shrink)
This empirical study of Fortune 1000 firms assesses the degree to which those firms have adopted various practices associated with corporate ethics programs. The study examines the following aspects of formalized corporate ethics activity: ethics-oriented policy statements; formalization of management responsibilities for ethics; free-standing ethics offices; ethics and compliance telephone reporting/advice systems; top management and departmental involvement in ethics activities; usage of ethics training and other ethics awareness activities; investigatory functions; and evaluation of ethics program activities. Results show a high (...) degree of corporate adoption of ethics policies, but wide variability in the extent to which these policies are implemented by various supporting structures and managerial activities. In effect, the vast majority of firms have committed to the low cost, possibly symbolic side of ethics management (e.g., adoption of ethics codes and policies, etc.). But firms differ substantially in their efforts to see that those policies or codes actually are put into practice. (shrink)
Previous research has identified multiple approaches to the design and implementation of corporate ethics programs. This field survey in a large financial servicescompany investigated the relationships of the values and compliance orientations in an ethics program to a diverse set of outcomes.Employees’ perceptions that the company ethics program is oriented toward affirming ethical values were associated with seven outcomes. Perceptions of a compliance orientation were associated with four of these outcomes. The interaction of values and compliance orientations was associated with (...) employees’ willingness to report misconduct. In general, a values orientation makes a greater unique contribution to the measured outcomes when compared to a compliance orientation. (shrink)
I argue that the best interpretation of the general theory of relativity has need of a causal entity, and causal structure that is not reducible to light cone structure. I suggest that this causal interpretation of GTR helps defeat a key premise in one of the most popular arguments for causal reductionism, viz., the argument from physics.
Organizational justice and injustice are widely noted influences on employees' ethical behavior. Corporate ethics programs alsoraise issues of justice; organizations that fail to "follow-through" on their ethics policies may be perceived as violating employees' expectations of procedural and retributive justice. In this empirical study of four large corporations, we considered employees' perceptions of general organizational justice, and their perceptions of ethics program follow-through, in relation to unethical behavior that harms the organization, and to employees' willingness to help the organization by (...) reporting ethical problems and issues to management. Results show that when employees perceive general organizational justice and ethics program follow-through, there is less unethical behavior and greater willingness to report problems. General justice and ethics program follow-through also interact with each other, showing that the impact of ethics initiatives is influenced by the organizational context. (shrink)
This paper delineates the normative and empirical approaches to business ethics based upon five categories: 1) academic horne; 2) language; 3) underlying assumptions; 4) theory purpose and scope; 5) theory grounds and evaluation criteria. The goal of the discussion is to increase understanding of the distinctive contributions of each approach and to encourage further dialogue about the potential for integration of the field.
Fundamental Causation addresses issues in the metaphysics of deterministic singular causation, the metaphysics of events, property instances, facts, preventions, and omissions, as well as the debate between causal reductionists and causal anti-reductionists. The book also pays special attention to causation and causal structure in physics. Weaver argues that causation is a multigrade obtaining relation that is transitive, irreflexive, and asymmetric. When causation is singular, deterministic and such that it relates purely contingent events, the relation is also universal, intrinsic, and (...) well-founded. He shows that proper causal relata are events understood as states of substances at ontological indices. He then proves that causation cannot be reduced to some non-causal base, and that the best account of that relation should be unashamedly primitivist about the dependence relation that underwrites its very nature. The book demonstrates a distinctive realist and anti-reductionist account of causation by detailing precisely how the account outperforms reductionist and competing anti-reductionist accounts in that it handles all of the difficult cases while overcoming all of the general objections to anti-reductionism upon which other anti-reductionist accounts falter. This book offers an original and interesting view of causation and will appeal to scholars and advanced students in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of physics. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that philosophers of science have an obligation to recognize and engage with the social nature of the sciences they assess if those sciences are morally relevant. Morally-relevant science is science that has the potential to risk harm to humans, non-humans, or the environment. My argument and the approach I develop are informed by an analysis of the philosophy of biology literature on the criticism of evolutionary psychology, the study of the evolution of human psychology and (...) behaviour. From this literature, I tease out two different methods of scientific critique. The first I call the “truth-detectional” approach. Those who take this approach are first and foremost concerned about the truth of EP claims as that truth can be determined by evidence. The second I call the “social-dimensional” approach. Those who take this approach talk about the production and truth of EP claims but within a social framework. On this account, the legitimacy and perceived legitimacy of EP claims are not separate from the institutional and social processes and values that lend to their production. I show that the truth-detectional approach risks harms to society and to the philosophy of science, but that the social-dimensional approach avoids these harms. Philosophers of science, therefore, should take a social-dimensional approach to the assessment of morally-relevant science. (shrink)
This essay defines and critiques ‘methodocentrism’, the belief that predetermined research methods are the determining factor in the validity and importance of educational research. By examining research in science studies and posthumanism, the authors explain how this methodocentrism disenables research from taking account of problems and non-human actants that are presumed to be of no importance or value in existing social science research methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative. Building from a critique of these methods as profoundly anthropocentric, the authors examine (...) three crucial problematics in which methodocentrism functions in educational research: the institutionalization of graduate training, a wide-spread privileging of the visual, and the seeming necessity of ‘data’ in social scientific research methodologies. Ultimately, this article does not reject the necessity of particular studies having methods—rigorous, philosophically grounded approaches to problems in the world—but it argues that the belief that methods must be selected from existing options and assembled before approaching the ‘objects’ of study is not only a form of bad science, it is also deeply implicated in anthropocentric and colonialist politics. Instead, what research requires today is a thorough rethinking of the very distinction between subject and object and a renewed questioning of how agency functions in specific research settings. (shrink)
Even if there were widespread cross-cultural agreement on the normative issues of business ethics, corporate ethics management initiatives (e.g., codes of conduct, ethics telephone lines, ethics offices) which are appropriate in one cultural setting still could fail to mesh with the management practices and cultural characteristics of a different setting. By uncritically adopting widely promoted American practices for managing corporate ethics, multinational businesses risk failure in pursuing the ostensible goals of corporate ethics initiatives. Pursuing shared ethical goals by means of (...) culturally inappropriate management practices, in short, can undermine the effectiveness of ethics management efforts. This article explicates how several important dimensions of culture can influence the effectiveness of common ethics initiatives, and recommends the development and application of a culture-structure contingency analysis in the task of encouraging ethical behavior in global businesses. (shrink)
In what has become a classic work, Richard M. Weaver unsparingly diagnoses the ills of our age and offers a realistic remedy. He asserts that the world is intelligible, and that man is free. The catastrophes of our age are the product not of necessity but of unintelligent choice. A cure, he submits, is possible. It lies in the right use of man's reason, in the renewed acceptance of an absolute reality, and in the recognition that ideas—like actions—have consequences.
I show that the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, and essentially omnimalevolent being is impossible given only two metaethical assumptions (viz., moral rationalism and reasons internalism). I then argue (pace Stephen Law) that such an impossibility undercuts Law’s (Relig Stud 46(3):353–373, 2010) evil god challenge.
Prior research on ethics codes has suggested, but rarely tested, the effects of code design alternatives on the impact of codes. This study considers whether the presence of explanatory rationales and descriptions of sanctions in ethics codes affects recipients'' responses to a code. Theories of organizational justice and persuasive communication support an expectation that rationales and sanctions will be positively related to code recipients'' recall of code content and perceptions of organizational justice. Content recall is an obvious precondition of code (...) compliance; justice perceptions have multiple implications for the attitudes and actions of organizational members. Results show that explanatory rationales are associated with a statistically significant increase in perceptions of organizational procedural justice, but that rationales and sanctions generally show no relationship to distributive justice perceptions and accurate content recall. These results suggest that common prescriptions regarding ethics code design are of uncertain value apart from further research which unearths the relationships among the intended and perceived purposes of codes, the organizational settings in which they are applied, and a wide variety of code designs. (shrink)
Ethical sensitivity was introduced to caring science to describe the first component of decision making in professional practice; that is, recognizing and interpreting the ethical dimension of a care situation. It has since been conceptualized in various ways by scholars of professional disciplines. While all have agreed that ethical sensitivity is vital to practice, there has been no consensus regarding its definition, its characteristics, the conditions needed for it to occur, or the outcomes to professionals and society. The purpose of (...) this article is to explore the meaning of the concept of ethical sensitivity based on a review of the professional literature of selected disciplines. Qualitative content analysis of the many descriptors found within the literature was conducted to enhance understanding of the concept and identify its essential characteristics. Ethical sensitivity is considered to be an emerging concept with potential utility in research and practice. (shrink)
A translation of one of the single most important works of recent French philosophy, Badiou's magnum opus, and a must-have for his growing following and anyone interested in contemporary Continental thought.
I give two arguments for the claim that all events which occur at the actual world and are such that they could be caused, are also such that they must actually be caused. The first argument is an improvement of a similar argument advanced by Alexander Pruss, which I show to be invalid. It uses Pruss’s Brouwer Analog for counterfactual logic, and, as a consequence, implies inconsistency with Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals. While (I suggest) this consequence may not be objectionable, (...) the argument founders on the fact that Pruss’s Brouwer Analog has a clear counterexample. I thus turn to a second, “Lewisian” argument, which requires only an affirmation of one element of Lewis’s analysis of causation and one other, fairly weak possibility claim about the nature of wholly contingent events. The final section of the paper explains how both arguments escape objections from supposed indeterminacy in quantum physics. (shrink)
Self love is an inescapable problem for ethics, yet much of contemporary ethics is reluctant to offer any normative moral anthropologies. Instead, secular ethics and contemporary culture promote a norm of self-realization which is subjective and uncritical. Christian ethics also fails to address this problem directly, because it tends to investigate self love within the context of conflicts between the self's interests and those of her neighbors. Self Love and Christian Ethics argues for right self love as the solution of (...) proper self-relation that intersects with love for God and love for neighbor. Darlene Fozard Weaver explains that right self love entails a true self-understanding that is embodied in the person's concrete acts and relations. In making this argument, she calls upon ethicists to revisit ontological accounts of the self and to devote more attention to particular moral acts. (shrink)
In the first section of the article, we examine some recent criticisms of the connectionist enterprise: first, that connectionist models are fundamentally behaviorist in nature (and, therefore, non-cognitive), and second that connectionist models are fundamentally associationist in nature (and, therefore, cognitively weak). We argue that, for a limited class of connectionist models (feed-forward, pattern-associator models), the first criticism is unavoidable. With respect to the second criticism, we propose that connectionist modelsare fundamentally associationist but that this is appropriate for building models (...) of human cognition. However, we do accept the point that there are cognitive capacities for which any purely associative model cannot provide a satisfactory account. The implication that we draw from is this is not that associationist models and mechanisms should be scrapped, but rather that they should be enhanced.In the next section of the article, we identify a set of connectionist approaches which are characterized by “active symbols” — recurrent circuits which are the basis of knowledge representation. We claim that such approaches avoid criticisms of behaviorism and are, in principle, capable of supporting full cognition. In the final section of the article, we speculate at some length about what we believe would be the characteristics of a fully realized active symbol system. This includes both potential problems and possible solutions (for example, mechanisms needed to control activity in a complex recurrent network) as well as the promise of such systems (in particular, the emergence of knowledge structures which would constitute genuine internal models). (shrink)
We present an annotated bibliography of peer reviewed scientific research highlighting the human health, animal welfare, and environmental risks associated with genetic modification. Risks associated with the expression of the transgenic material include concerns over resistance and non-target effects of crops expressing Bt toxins, consequences of herbicide use associated with genetically modified herbicide-tolerant plants, and transfer of gene expression from genetically modified crops through vertical and horizontal gene transfer. These risks are not connected to the technique of genetic modification as (...) such, but would be present for any conventionally produced crops with the same heritable traits. In contrast, other risks are a direct consequence of the method used in gene manipulation. These come about because of the unstable nature of the transgene and vectors used to insert it, and because of unpredictable interactions between the transgene and the host genome. The debate over the release of genetically modified organisms is not merely a scientific one; it encompasses economics, law, ethics, and policy. Any discussion on these levels does, however, need to be informed by sound science. We hope that the scientific references provided here will provide a useful starting point for further debate. (shrink)
Twenty years ago, Alain Badiou's first Manifesto for Philosophy rose up against the all-pervasive proclamation of the "end" of philosophy. In lieu of this problematic of the end, he put forward the watchword: "one more step". The situation has considerably changed since then. Philosophy was threatened with obliteration at the time, whereas today it finds itself under threat for the diametrically opposed reason: it is endowed with an excessive, artificial existence. "Philosophy" is everywhere. It serves as a trademark for (...) various media pundits. It livens up cafés and health clubs. It has its magazines and its gurus. It is universally called upon, by everything from banks to major state commissions, to pronounce on ethics, law and duty. In essence, "philosophy" has now come to stand for nothing other than its most ancient enemy: conservative ethics. Badiou's second manifesto therefore seeks to demoralize philosophy and to separate it from all those "philosophies" that are as servile as they are ubiquitous. It demonstrates the power of certain eternal truths to illuminate action and, as such, to transport philosophy far beyond the figure of "the human" and its "rights". There, well beyond all moralism, in the clear expanse of the idea, life becomes something radically other than survival. (shrink)
In the uprisings of the Arab world, Alain Badiou discerns echoes of the European revolutions of 1848. In both cases, the object was to overthrow despotic regimes maintained by the great powers -- regimes designed to impose the will of financial oligarchies. Both events occurred after what was commonly thought to be the end of a revolutionary epoch: in 1815, the final defeat of Napoleon; and in 1989, the fall of the Soviet Union. But the revolutions of 1848 proclaimed (...) for a century and a half the return of revolutionary thought and action. Likewise, the uprisings underway today herald worldwide resurgence in the liberating force of the masses -- despite the attempts of the 'international community' to neutralize its power. (shrink)