Changes in American society have brought both increased concern for solving practical problems and decreased concern for whether foundational ethical theory can be, or needs to be, understood when solving them. A systematic study of newly established institutes of applied ethics reveals that the directors of all of them claim that ethical theory, or knowledge of the ultimate bases for moral appeals inherent in human nature, is not necessary for proposing solutions. Quotations from claims of directors of five prominent institutes (...) are cited as evidence for the thesis that teaching applied ethics without teaching theoretical foundations of ethics is the main line policy today. (shrink)
The author rejects the main-line policy that business ethics can be taught better by ignoring theoretical foundations and the excuse that several alternative theories are available for appeal if one cares to consult them. He proposes recognizing enlightened self-interest as the theory already practiced by persons and groups, implicitly when not explicitly, and that frank recognition that it is presupposed will encourage more intelligent solutions because this will direct attention to needs for enlightenment of many kinds. Deliberate pursuit of enlightenment (...) — general, specific and particular — should result in greater achievement and, when achieved, in increased reliability of solutions. (shrink)
To think is to reduce. That is, to think is to abstract from the rich and variegated flux of experience certain apparent similarities and differences and to regard these as somehow significantly representative of the whole of experience. Controversies between schools of philosophy result largely from their selecting different parts of experience and emphasizing them as peculiarly, sometimes as exclusively, representative of what is regarded as necessary to the nature of existence. Whenever a school chooses to take some apparently universal (...) trait or traits of existence as experienced and to claim that such trait or traits alone are essential to its nature, it becomes reductionistic, not merely in the general sense that all thinking is reductionistic but in the additionally derogatory sense of misrepresenting the situation by unnecessarily omitting other equally essential traits. In a sense, all schools of philosophy, to the extent that they idealize one or more such traits as predominantly representative of existence, tend to be reductionistic. Those which further assert such as exclusively representative become extremely reductionistic. (shrink)
This book makes a forceful case for the scientific aspirations of ethics and for the necessity of ethics to our humanity. It is written as a challenge to those who are reluctant to recognize that science can deal decisively with questions in ethical theory. It throws new light on group responsibilities, apparent oughtness, and the responsibility we have for expanding our awareness of responsibilities.
This book expounds the basic principles of Axiology as a major field of philosophical inquiry. Those principles can be discovered and demonstrated by scientific method. In treating scientific inquiry the book throws light on what values are and how they are known. It explores questions of Good and Bad, Ends and Means, and Appearance and Reality as applied to values. Axiology, argues the author, provides the basis for ethics as the science of oughtness: the power that a greater good has (...) over a lesser good in compelling our choices. The book concludes with a survey of efforts to establish Axiology as a science. (shrink)