Neither the corporate view of whistle blowers as tattle-tales and traitors, nor the more sympathethic understanding of them as tragic heroes battling corrupt or abused systems captures what is at stake in whistle blowing at its most distinctive. The courage, determination and sacrifice of the most ardent whistle blowers suggests that they only begin to be appreciated when they are seen as the saints of secular culture. Although some whistle blowers may be attempting to deflect attention from their own deficiencies (...) and others may be disgruntled employees, the most serious instances involve a level of moral sensitivity that approaches religious proportions that are baffling for a culture that has dispensed with sainthood. (shrink)
Milton Friedman's article, The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits, owes its appeal to the rhetorical devices of simplicity, authority, and finality. More careful consideration reveals oversimplification and ambiguity that conceals empirical errors and logical fallacies. It is false that business does, or would, operate exclusively in economic terms, that managers concentrate obsessively on profitability, and that ethics can be marginalized. These errors reflect basic contradictions: an apolitical political base, altruistic agents of selfishness, and good deriving from (...) greed. (shrink)
Although Anders Nygren deserves a lot of the credit for launching the debate about the Christian understanding of love, his insistence on the distinctiveness of agape has been severely challenged by advocates for the sensuousness of eros and the mutuality of philia. The most serious challenge, however, may come from defenses of agape where the altruistic distinctiveness of the theological thrust is qualified by the claims of an ethical horizon. In spite of his disservice to eros and his neglect of (...) philia, Nygren deserves to be heard in his insistence that agape is a unique concept, and that this uniqueness is due particularly to its theological source and reference. (shrink)
There is a thesis that legal rules need to be made public because people cannot guide their conduct by rules they cannot know. This thesis has been a mainstay of anti-positivism and the controversy over it continues apace. However, positivism can accommodate the secret laws thesis. The deeper import of the debate over secret laws concerns our understanding of law's nature. In this regard secrecy merits attention as a candidate necessary connection between law and immorality. In addition the mediating role (...) of lawyers as experts in ascertaining the law should be highlighted. It has been widely overlooked despite the fact that lawyers are criterial in Hart's concept of law. (shrink)
Separated from its anchorage in religion, ethics has followed the social sciences in seeing human beings as fundamentally characterized by self-interest, so that altruism is either naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin Grant contends that, as a modern secular concept, altruism is a parody on the self-giving love of Christianity, so that its dismissal represents a social levelling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and religion makes possible. The Christian affirmation is that God is characterized by self-giving love, (...) then expected of Christians. Lacking this theological background, the focus on self-interest in sociobiology and economics, and on human realism in the political focus of John Rawls or the feminist sociability of Carol Gilligan, finds altruism naive or a dangerous distraction from real possibilities of mutual support. This book argues that to dispense with altruism is to dispense with God and with the divine transformation of human possibilities. (shrink)
Science establishes facts; the arts create imaginary possibilities; theology speculates. Although this characterization might receive wide endorsement, highly creative and literary developments in contemporary science suggest otherwise. The intriguing gene's-eye view of life promoted by sociobiology, and especially in Richard Dawkins' ‘biography’ of the selfish gene, represents a highly literate and imaginative account of reality that not only shatters the science/arts stereotype but even suggests that ultimately science involves views of reality of theological proportions.
THE PURPOSE of this paper is to clarify some of the logical problems raised by certain uses of the word “imply”which, although very familiar in ordinary language, have not been adequately investigated by philosophers. There have been numerous references to this type of implication in recent philosophical writings. Some of these are listed below. 2 However, there does not exist, to my knowledge, any account of this concept in its own right; this deficiency I hope to remedy, in part, in (...) the following remarks. (shrink)
In this essay I set out to problematize the concepts of intersubjectivity and interaction in the theories of Germany's two foremost social philosophers: Jiirgen Habermas and Niklas Luhmann. To do so, I shall briefly reconstruct Husserl's phenomenological concept of intersubjectivity and its relationship with rational horizons and lifeworlds. I shall then demonstrate the importance of Husserl's thought in the theory of (rational) communicative action in Habermas. The third section deals with the radical rethinking of the subject (and hence intersubjectivity) in (...) the theory of Niklas Luhmann. My principal question will then be: is it possible to reconcile critical theory with systems theory? Or, alternatively: is intersubjectivity a reality or a useful fiction? (shrink)
Oppression is commonly deemed a problem of freedom. How though should we conceptualise the freedom-restricting nature of oppression? This paper aims to show that the unfreedom in oppression may be understood in terms of individual negative liberty. The controversial concept of collective unfreedom is not needed. Non-cooperation among the oppressed generates constraints on individual freedom. This non-cooperation is ultimately attributable to the exercise of social power by oppressors. It is in this sense that the resultant states of individual unfreedom are (...) due relations of oppression. (shrink)
Theodore Levitt criticizes John Kenneth Galbraith's view of advertising as artificial want creation, contending that its selling focus on the product fails to appreciate the marketing focus on the consumer. But Levitt himself not only ends up endorsing selling; he fails to confront the fact that the marketing to our most pervasive needs that he advocates really represents a sophisticated form of selling. He avoids facing this by the fiction that marketing is concerned only with the material level of existence, (...) and absolves marketing of serious involvement in the level of meaning through the relativization of all meanings as personal preferences. The irony is that this itself reflects a particular view of meaning, a modern commercial one, so that it is this vision of life that LevittÕs marketing is really SELLING. (shrink)
The claim of neutrality made on behalf of “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” has been re-enforced by Kay Mathiesen’s creation of “TheAltruist’s Dilemma.” That this represents a neutral variation on “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” is compromised, however, by the failure of “The Altruist’s Dilemma” to deal with altruism in a full sense. The difference illustrates how, in contrast to its professed neutrality, “ThePrisoner’s Dilemma” involves very definite views of humanity and the nature of life itself. This is confirmed by Mathiesen’s misreading of O. (...) Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.”. (shrink)
The criminal conviction of Amway Corporation for evasion of Canadian customs duties not only belies the high ethical profession of its president, Richard DeVos, but his reissuing of the book which makes this profession, without mentioning the conviction, supports the view that ultimately ethics and business are pulling in opposite directions.
The recovery of theological integrity effected by Karl Barth has very much to do with his polemic against natural theology. Theology has regained credibility, however, at the price of being made unnatural, severed from the world in its own ecclesiastical sphere. This actually represents an indirect endorsement of natural theology inasmuch as the naturalistic understanding of the world is taken for granted as the way the world is. One result of this is the virtual abandonment of nature for theology, reflected (...) in an alienation from science and a disinterest in ecology. The more specific object of Barth's critique of natural theology, Nazism, may also exert a reverse influence on Barth's theology, helping to account for its Christological exclusivism. The implication of this is that the critique of natural theology requires a renewed appreciation of the naturalness of theology. (shrink)
In response to concern over the numeracy skills deficit displayed by student nurses, an online computer programme, ?Authentic World??, which aims to simulate a real-life clinical environment and improve the medication dosage calculation skills of users, was developed (Founded in 2004 Authentic World Ltd is a spin out company of Glarmorgan and Cardiff Universities, Cardiff, Wales UK.). Two randomised controlled trials were conducted, each at a UK University, in order to investigate the impact of Authentic World? on student nurses? general (...) numeracy abilities. All first year nursing students who gave consent were randomised equally into an intervention or control group. The intervention group were given access to Authentic World?. The primary outcome measure was the students? scores on a general numeracy test. The Intention to Treat (ITT) analysis in both trials revealed a small negative effect of Authentic World? on general numeracy, which was statistically significant in one trial. However, compliance with the intervention was very low in both trials, with only 24 and 12% of students allocated to the intervention groups spending more than 15 minutes using the programme. Providing nursing students with access to Authentic World? is not an effective use of resources since use of the programme appears to be very low. (shrink)
In one way or another the theory and practice of modern medicine is confronting us with many dilemmas, chiefly, though not exclusively, of a moral character; the transplantation of organs, abortion, and euthanasia are examples, and closely associated with these are more obviously conceptual problems such as the definition of death and, for that matter, of life itself. Contemporary moral philosophers have been strangely silent on these matters, and have been content to leave the field to lawyers and churchmen and (...) those few medical men both able and willing to reflect upon their practices. (shrink)