Scholars of early Chinese philosophy frequently point to the nontranscendent, organismic conception of the cosmos in early China as the source of China's unique perspective and distinctive values. One would expect recent works in Confucian ethics to capitalize on this idea. Reviewing recent works in Confucian ethics by P. J. Ivanhoe, David Nivison, R. P. Peerenboom, Henry Rosemont, and Tu Wei-Ming, the author analyzes these new studies in terms of the extent to which their representation of Confucian ethics (...) reflects and is consistent with the view that in early China the cosmos was conceived to be organismic, nontranscendent, and nondualistic. (shrink)
The existence of natural talent becomes easier to see at extremes in performance. Practice alone could not account for the differences in performance that exist at the highest levels. Practice and other factors are no doubt important contributors to outstanding performance, but not enough to explain great creative works. Talent is essential.
Research that involves the creation of animals with human-derived parts opens the door to potentially valuable scientific and therapeutic advances, yet invokes unsettling moral questions. Critics and champions alike stand to gain from clear identification and careful consideration of the strongest ethical objections to this research. A prevailing objection argues that crossing the human/nonhuman species boundary introduces inexorable moral confusion (IMC) that warrants a restriction to this research on precautionary grounds. Though this objection may capture the intuitions of many who (...) find this research unsettling, it relies on mistaken views of both biology and moral standing, ultimately distorting the morally relevant facts. We critically examine IMC, identify mistaken essentialist assumptions, and reframe ethical concerns. The upshot is a stronger line of objection that encourages a more inclusive and productive ethical discourse. (shrink)
What is the ethical significance of debriefing in deceptive research? The standard view of debriefing is that it serves to disclose the deception to the participant and is a means of evaluating and mitigating potential harms that may have resulted from involvement in the research. However, as the article by Miller, Gluck, and Wendler in this issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal points out, there has been little systematic attention to the ethics of debriefing, particularly with regard to (...) the role of debriefing in addressing the prima facie moral wrong of deception itself. They argue that in addition to mitigating the harms of deception, debriefing should include an apology to participants for being deceived. In the current paper, I argue that an apology is not morally obligatory in most research contexts. Debriefing should be considered an opportunity to further define the researcher-participant relationship without the need to be remorseful about the research practice. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the impact of individualism and collectivism on three basic aspects of ethical decision making - the perception of moral problems, moral reasoning, and behavior. We argue that the inclusion of business practices within the moral domain by the individual depends partly upon individualism and collectivism. We also propose a pluralistic approach to post-conventional moral judgment that includes developmental paths appropriate for individualist and collectivist cultures. Finally, we argue that the link between moral judgment and behavior (...) is related to individualism and collectivism. (shrink)
Increasingly research in the field of business and society suggests that ethics and corporate social responsibility can be profitable. Yet this work raises a troubling question: Is it ethical to use ethics and social responsibility in a strategic way? Is it possible to be ethical or socially responsible for the wrong reason? In this article, we define a strategy concept in order to situate the different approaches to the strategic use of ethics and social responsibility found in the current literature. (...) We then analyze the ethics of such approaches using both utilitarianism and deontology and end by defining limits to the strategic use of ethics. (shrink)
In this article, we examine the relationship of the multinational firm’s market environment, stakeholders, resources, and values to the development of strategic social planning and strategic social positioning. Using a sample of multinational enterprises in Mexico, we examine the relationship of these different ways of conducting social strategy to the creation of value by the firm. The market conditions of munificence and dynamism, and the resource for continuous innovation are found to be related to strategic social positioning. The social responsibility (...) orientation of the firm is related to strategic social planning. Positioning is related to value creation for the multinational firm, but planning is not. We discuss the implications of these findings for research and practice. (shrink)
Although HenryDavid Thoreau stands outside the Christian canon, his outlook on the relations among spirituality, ecology, and economy highlights how Christian theologians can develop a theological work ethic in our era of economic and ecological precarity. He can furthermore help theologians counter the pro-work bias in much Christian thought. In Walden, Thoreau shows that the best work is an ascetic practice that reveals and reaps the abundance of nature and connects the person to the immanent divine and (...) thereby glimpsing eternity. Thoreau thus offers the outline of a transformed theology of work even as he challenges Protestant vocationalism in the early industrial era. He is therefore a fitting if challenging guide for formulating a theology of the self as agent and product of work, at a moment when the postindustrial ideal of work that is both meaningful and remunerative seems ever more unattainable while the negative impact of our work on nonhuman nature is ever more apparent. (shrink)
Can a soldier be held responsible for fighting in a war that is illegal or unjust? The chapters in the book both challenge and defend many deeply held assumptions: about the liability of soldiers for crimes of aggression, about the nature and justifiability of terrorism, about the relationship between law and morality.
In his graceful philosophical account, Alfred I. Tauber shows why Thoreau still seems so relevant today—more relevant in many respects than he seemed to his contemporaries. Although Thoreau has been skillfully and thoroughly examined as a writer, naturalist, mystic, historian, social thinker, Transcendentalist, and lifelong student, we may find in Tauber's portrait of Thoreau the moralist a characterization that binds all these aspects of his career together. Thoreau was caught at a critical turn in the history of science, between the (...) ebb of Romanticism and the rising tide of positivism. He responded to the challenges posed by the new ideal of objectivity not by rejecting the scientific worldview, but by humanizing it for himself. Tauber portrays Thoreau as a man whose moral vision guided his life's work. Each of Thoreau's projects reflected a self-proclaimed "metaphysical ethics," an articulated program of self-discovery and self-knowing. By writing, by combining precision with poetry in his naturalist pursuits and simplicity with mystical fervor in his daily activity, Thoreau sought to live a life of virtue—one he would characterize as marked by deliberate choice. This unique vision of human agency and responsibility will still seem fresh and contemporary to readers at the start of the twenty-first century. (shrink)
I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil,—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school committee and every one of you will take care of that.
Based on an 1839 boat trip Thoreau took with his brother from Concord, Massachusetts, to Concord, New Hampshire, and back, this classic of American literature is not only a vivid narrative of that journey, it is also a collection of thought-provoking observations on such diverse topics as poetry, literature and philosophy, Native American and Puritan histories of New England, friendship, sacred Eastern writings, traditional Christianity, and much more. Written, like Walden, while Thoreau lived at Walden Pond, and published in 1849, (...) A Week (his first book) shares many themes with Walden, published in 1854. Both dramatize the process of self-renewal in nature and resolutely rail against the official culture and politics of the "trivial Nineteenth Century." Blending keen observation with a wealth of perceptive and informed reflections, Thoreau develops a continuous and lyrical dialogue between the past and present, as particular scenes on shore trigger reflections on the region’s history and legends. Originally conceived as a travel book, A Week eventually became much more — one of the most intellectually ambitious works of 19th-century America, and a requiem for Thoreau's brother John, who died from a sudden illness in 1842. Of Thoreau and this work, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "H. D. Thoreau is a great man in Concord, a man of original genius and character. . . . I think it [A Week. . .] is a book of wonderful merit, which is to go far and last long.". (shrink)
I HEARTILY accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it ﬁnally amounts to this, which also I believe,—“That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. (...) The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure. This American government,—what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the Ameri-. (shrink)
Henry More (1614–1687), the most influential of the so-called Cambridge Platonists, and arguably the leading philosophically-inclined theologian in late seventeenth-century England, has come in for renewed attention lately. He was the subject of a detailed intellectual biography in 2003 by Robert Crocker, and in 2012 Jasper Reid published a philosophically penetrating and enlightening study of More’s metaphysics (Crocker 2003; Reid 2012). David Leech’s study of More’s idiosyncratic concept of immaterial spirit—and the role that it plays in his philosophy (...) and theology—is as detailed and penetrating as Reid’s study of his metaphysics, but perhaps more far-reaching in its ambitions. As the sub-title of this new book suggests, More’s philosophical theology is presented here as leading to the unintended consequence of promoting the incipient atheism of the early modern period.Leech’s study is clearly and helpfully structured in three parts and ten chapters. The first part, “Atheism and Spir .. (shrink)
The argument by analogy for other minds is customarily rejected as a weak inference because the argument is based on a single instance. The current paper argues that this objection fundamentally misunderstands the inferential structure of analogies and so misrepresents the role analogy plays in the justifycation of belief in other minds. Arguments by be uniquely suited to draw inferences from single instances. This defense does not remove all difficulties faced by the argument by analogy for other minds.
Poincare’s arguments for his thesis of the conventionality of metric depend on a relationalist program for dynamics, not on any general philosophical interpretation of science. I will sketch Poincare’s development of the relationalist program and show that his arguments for the conventionality of metric do not depend on any global strategies such as a general empiricism or Duhemian underdetermination arguments. Poincare’s theory of space, while empirically false, is more philosophically sophisticated than his critics have claimed.
I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. (...) The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure. (shrink)
Language comprehension requires a simulation that uses neural systems involved in perception, action, and emotion. A review of recent literature as well as new experiments support five predictions derived from this framework. 1. Being in an emotional state congruent with sentence content facilitates sentence comprehension. 2. Because women are more reactive to sad events and men are more reactive to angry events, women understand sentences about sad events with greater facility than men, and men understand sentences about angry events with (...) greater facility than women. 3. Because it takes time to shift from one emotion to another, reading a sad sentence slows the reading of a happy sentence more for women than men, whereas reading an angry sentence slows the reading of a happy sentence more for men than for women. 4. Because sad states motivate affiliative actions and angry states motivate aggressive action, gender and emotional content of sentences interact with the response mode. 5. Because emotion simulation requires particular action systems, adapting those action systems will affect comprehension of sentences with emotional content congruent with the adapted action system. These results have implications for the study of language, emotion, and gender differences. (shrink)
Literature on corporate social responsibility has tended to treat economic benefits to the firm as unintentional spillovers that result from laudable CSR behavior. Empirical studies of the relationship between CSR and corporate financial performance have reported mixed findings. This article shifts the conceptual and empirical focus to investigate the conditions under which intentional profit-seeking through corporate social action projects can create economic value for the firm. The article uses resource-dependency theory and the resource-based view to define the firm’s external and (...) internal environments respectively. From that perspective, the article looks at how corporate social action creates economic value through strategic social planning and strategic social positioning. A survey instrument was developed and applied to 110 large Spanish firms. In that sample, munificence and continuous innovation positively affect social positioning, while nongovernmental organization salience and social responsibility orientation positively affect social planning. Both social positioning and social planning in turn contribute to corporate ability to create value. The article concludes with a discussion of the research and managerial implications of these findings. (shrink)