This paper examines potential predictors of ethical decisions regarding insider trading. An interactionist perspective is taken, in which person variables, situational variables, and the interaction of these two sets of variables are viewed as influencing ethical decisions. The results of our study support such a perspective. Ethical decisions regarding insider trading appear to be a function of a complex set of interacting variables related to both the person and the situation. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Our century has witnessed violence on an unprecedented scale, in wars that have torn deep into the fabric of national and international life. And as we can see in the recent strife in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the ongoing struggle to control nuclear weaponry, ancient enmities continue to threaten the lives of masses of human beings. As never before, the question is urgent and practical: How can nations--or ethnic groups, or races--after long, bitter struggles, learn to live side by (...) side in peace? In An Ethic for Enemies, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary, argues that the solution lies in our capacity to forgive. Taking forgiveness out of its traditional exclusive association with personal religion and morality, Shriver urges us to recognize its importance in the secular political arena. The heart of the book examines three powerful and moving cases from recent American history--our postwar dealings with Germany, with Japan, and our continuing domestic problem with race relations--cases in which acts of forgiveness have had important political consequences. Shriver traces how postwar Germany, in its struggle to break with its political past, progressed from denial of a Nazi past, to a formal acknowledgement of the crimes of Nazi Germany, to providing material compensation for survivors of the Holocaust. He also examines the efforts of Japan and the United States, over time and across boundaries of race and culture, to forgive the wrongs committed by both peoples during the Pacific War. And finally he offers a fascinating discussion of the role of forgiveness in the American civil rights movement. He shows, for instance, that even Malcolm X recognized the need to move from contempt for the integrationist ideal to a more conciliatory, repentant stance toward Civil Rights leaders. Malcolm came to see that only through forgiveness could the separate voices of the African-American movement work together to achieve their goals. If mutual forgiveness was a radical thought in 1964, Shriver reminds us that it has yet to be realized in 1994. "We are a long way from ceasing to hold the sins of the ancestors against their living children," he writes. Yet in this poignant volume, we discover how, by forgiving, enemies can progress and have progressed toward peace. A timely antidote to today's political conflicts, An Ethic for Enemies challenges to us to confront the hatreds that cripple society and threaten to destroy the global village. (shrink)
Abstract In a well-known paper, Bernard Williams argues that an immortal life would not be worth living, for it would necessarily become boring. I examine the implications for the boredom thesis of three human traits that have received insufficient attention in the literature on Williams? paper. First, human memory decays, so humans would be entertained and driven by things that they experienced long before but had forgotten. Second, even if memory does not decay to the extent necessary to ward off (...) boredom, once-satisfied desires often return after a sufficient period of time. Eternity would always contain sufficient time for our desires to rejuvenate. Third, even if too many of our desires were satisfied but not yet rejuvenated, we can expect that human ingenuity would continue to invent new pursuits, pastimes, careers, and ways of life that would prevent us from becoming bored as we moved from one to another. Finally, I consider and respond to several objections, including the claims that as much variety as I propose to be put into an eternal life is inconsistent with having one character throughout one?s life and that the sort of character change and memory decay I postulate is inconsistent with personal identity. (shrink)
The most popular and convincing arguments for the claim that vegetarianism is morally obligatory focus on the extensive, unnecessary harm done to animals and to the environment by raising animals industrially in confinement conditions (factory farming). I outline the strongest versions of these arguments. I grant that it follows from their central premises that purchasing and consuming factoryfarmed meat is immoral. The arguments fail, however, to establish that strict vegetarianism is obligatory because they falsely assume that eating vegetables is the (...) only alternative to eating factory-farmed meat that avoids the harms of factory farming. I show that these arguments not only fail to establish that strict vegetarianism is morally obligatory, but that the very premises of the arguments imply that eating some (non-factory-farmed) meat rather than only vegetables is morally obligatory. Therefore, if the central premises of these usual arguments are true, then strict vegetarianism is immoral. (shrink)
An adaptive preference is a preference that is regimented in response to an agent’s set of feasible options. The fabled fox in the sour grapes story undergoes an adaptive preference change. I consider adaptive preferences more broadly, to include adaptive preference formation as well. I argue that many adaptive preferences that other philosophers have cast out as irrational sour-grapes-like preferences are actually fully rational preferences worthy of pursuit. I offer a means of distinguishing rational and worthy adaptive preferences from irrational (...) and unworthy ones. The distinction is based on the agent’s own appraisal of the adaptive preference. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher. He is a central figure of modern philosophy, and set the terms by which all subsequent thinkers have had to grapple. He argued that human perception structures natural laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.
One version of the desire satisfaction theory of well-being (i.e., welfare, or what is good for one) holds that only the satisfaction of one's present desires for present states of affairs can affect one's well-being. So if I desire fame today and become famous tomorrow, my well-being is positively affected onlyif tomorrow, when I am famous, I still desire to be famous. Call this the present desire satisfaction theory of well-being. I argue, contrary to this theory, that the satisfaction of (...) past desires that are no longer held does indeed affect one's well-being. The satisfaction of past desires is good for one in that the present satisfaction of past desires positively affects one's past well-being. I argue for this view in stages, starting with the recognition that many of our desires are satisfied not at an instant but over an interval of time, and that it is during this interval of time that our well-being is positively affected. Once we get our foot in the door with some temporal thickness to desire satisfaction and the associated well-being, I argue, the door must open more widely to allow for greater temporal distance between present desire satisfaction and past well-being. I defend my thesis that present satisfaction of past desires increases one's past welfare against objections, including the claim that it involves backward causation and Velleman's claim that the view is highly counterintuitive whether or not it involves backward causation. I argue that some of the objections rely on hedonistic intuitions, intuitions that most desire satisfaction theories of welfare aim to correct. Once properly understood and applied, my counterintuitive and controversial thesis is really quite innocuous. (shrink)
Cognitive neuroscientists have anticipated the union of neural and behavioral science with ethics (Gazzaniga 2005). The identification of an ethical rule—the dictum that we should treat others in the manner in which we would like to be treated—apparently widespread among human societies suggests a dependence on fundamental human brain mechanisms. Now, studies of neural and molecular mechanisms that underlie the feeling of fear suggest how this form of ethical behavior is produced. Counterintuitively, a new theory presented here states that it (...) is actually a loss of social information that leads to sharing others' fears with our own, thus allowing us to treat others as we would like to be treated. Adding to that hypothetical mechanism is the well-studied predilection toward affiliative behaviors. Thus, even as Chomsky hypothesizes that humans are predisposed to utter grammatical sentences, we propose that humans are 'wired for reciprocity'. However, these two neural forces supporting ethical behavior do not explain individual or collective violence. At any given moment, the ability to produce behavior that obeys this ethical rule is proposed to depend on a balance between mechanisms for prosocial and antisocial behaviors. That balance results not only from genetic influences on temperament but also from environmental effects particularly during critical neonatal and pubertal periods. (shrink)
Whitehead's magnum opus is as important as it is difficult. It is the only work in which his metaphysical ideas are stated systematically and completely, and his metaphysics are the heart of his philosophical system as a whole.
Over the past 35 years, patients have suffered from a largely hidden epidemic of side effects from drugs that usually have few offsetting benefits. The pharmaceutical industry has corrupted the practice of medicine through its influence over what drugs are developed, how they are tested, and how medical knowledge is created. Since 1906, heavy commercial influence has compromised congressional legislation to protect the public from unsafe drugs. The authorization of user fees in 1992 has turned drug companies into the FDA's (...) prime clients, deepening the regulatory and cultural capture of the agency. Industry has demanded shorter average review times and, with less time to thoroughly review evidence, increased hospitalizations and deaths have resulted. Meeting the needs of the drug companies has taken priority over meeting the needs of patients. Unless this corruption of regulatory intent is reversed, the situation will continue to deteriorate. We offer practical suggestions including: separating the funding of clinical trials from their conduct, analysis, and publication; independent FDA leadership; full public funding for all FDA activities; measures to discourage R&D on drugs with few, if any, new clinical benefits; and the creation of a National Drug Safety Board. (shrink)
Institutional corruption is a normative concept of growing importance that embodies the systemic dependencies and informal practices that distort an institution’s societal mission. An extensive range of studies and lawsuits already documents strategies by which pharmaceutical companies hide, ignore, or misrepresent evidence about new drugs; distort the medical literature; and misrepresent products to prescribing physicians. We focus on the consequences for patients: millions of adverse reactions. After defining institutional corruption, we focus on evidence that it lies behind the epidemic of (...) harms and the paucity of benefits. (shrink)
Hugh LaFollette, Jeff McMahan, and David DeGrazia endorse the most popular and convincing argument for the strict regulation of firearms in the U.S. The argument is based on the extensive, preventable harm caused by firearms. DeGrazia offers another compelling argument based on the rights of those threatened by firearms. My thesis is a conditional: if these usual arguments for gun control succeed, then alcoholic beverages should be controlled much more strictly than they are, possibly to the point of prohibition. The (...) argument for this thesis involves developing a careful analogy between firearms and alcohol and defending the analogy against objections. (shrink)
Donald Shriver argues that recognition of morally negative events in American history is essential to the health of our society. The failure to acknowledge and repent of these events skews the relations of many Americans to one another and breeds ongoing hostility. Focusing on the wrongs suffered by African Americans and Native Americans, Shriver examines the challenges associated with the call for collective repentance: What can it mean to morally master a past whose victims are dead and whose sufferings (...) cannot be alleviated? What are the measures that lend substance to language and action expressing repentance? In answering these questions Shriver creates a compelling vision of the collective repentance and apology that must precede real progress in relations between the races in this country. (shrink)
Usage of the term ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) has exploded across fields ranging from developmental psychology to social neuroscience and psychiatry research. However, its meaning is often vague and inconsistent, its biologi- cal bases are a subject of debate, and the methods used to study it are highly heterogeneous. Most crucially, its original definition does not permit easy downward translation to more basic processes such as those stud- ied by behavioral neuroscience, leaving the interpreta- tion of neuroimaging results opaque. We (...) argue for a reformulation of ToM through a systematic two-stage approach, beginning with a deconstruction of the con- struct into a comprehensive set of basic component processes, followed by a complementary reconstruction from which a scientifically tractable concept of ToM can be recovered. (shrink)
As a way to make medical decisions, Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) has failed. EBM's failure arises from not being founded on real-world decision-making. EBM aspires to a scientific standard for the best way to treat a disease and determine its cause, but it fails to recognise that the scientific method is inapplicable to medical and other real-world decision-making. EBM also wrongly assumes that evidence can be marshaled and applied according to an hierarchy that is determined in an argument by authority to (...) the method by which it has been obtained. If EBM had valid theoretical, practical or empirical foundations, there would be no hierarchy of evidence. In all real-world decision-making, evidence stands or falls on its inherent reliability. This has to be and can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis applying understanding and wisdom against the background of all available facts—the "factual matrix." EBM's failure is structural and was inevitable from its inception. EBM confuses the inherent reliability and probative value of evidence with the means by which it is obtained. -/- EBM is therefore an ad hoc construct and is not a valid basis for medical decision-making. This is further demonstrated by its exclusion of relevant scientific and probative real-world decision-making evidence and processes. It draws upon a narrow evidence base that is itself inherently unreliable. It fails to take adequate account of the nature of causation, the full range of evidence relevant to its determination, and differing approaches to determining cause and effect in real-world decision-making. EBM also makes a muddled attempt to emulate the scientific method and it does not acknowledge the role of experience, understanding and wisdom in making medical decisions. (shrink)
In , Ben Colburn claims that preferences formed through covert influences are defective. I show that Colburn's argument fails to establish that anything is wrong with preferences formed in this manner.
It is commonly recognized that not all actions are candidates for moral evaluation. For instance, morality is silent on the issue whether to tie one's right shoe before one's left shoe or the other way around. This shoe-tying action is not a candidate for moral appraisal. The matter is amoral, for neither alternative is morally required nor forbidden, and both are permissible. It is not commonly recognized that not all actions are candidates for prudential evaluation. I shall argue, however, that (...) there are cases of individual action over time, as well, that are aprudent in the sense that none of the alternatives under consideration are required or forbidden by prudence, but all of them are permissible. These are cases in which there is no fact of the matter as to what is the best choice for one. There are at least two such cases: first, cases in which the alternative courses of action open to one are incommensurable; and second, cases in which one's values are not yet determined and one is deciding what values to adopt, what sort of person to become, or what ideals to pursue. In these cases, prudence is silent on the question of what one ought to do. Indeed, I go on to argue prudence can even be silent on the question whether to act according to the values one currently holds or to pursue an entirely different course that will result in changes to one's values, which is the third case of aprudent choice. (shrink)
Medicine, like law, is a pragmatic, probabilistic activity. Both require that decisions be made on the basis of available evidence, within a limited time. In contrast to law, medicine, particularly evidence-based medicine as it is currently practiced, aspires to a scientific standard of proof, one that is more certain than the standards of proof courts apply in civil and criminal proceedings. But medicine, as Dr. William Osler put it, is an "art of probabilities," or at best, a "science of uncertainty." (...) One can better practice medicine by using other evidentiary standards in addition to the "scientific." To employ only the scientific standard of proof is inappropriate, if not impossible; furthermore, as this review will show, its application in medicine is fraught with bias. Evidence is information. It supports or undermines a proposition, whether a hypothesis in science, a diagnosis in medicine, or a fact or point in question in a legal investigation. In medicine, physicians marshal evidence to make decisions on how to best prevent, diagnose, and treat disease, and improve health. In law, courts decide the facts and render justice. Judges and juries assess evidence to establish liability, to settle custody and medical issues, and to determine a defendant's guilt or innocence. (shrink)
There is a large literature in empirical psychology studying what psychologists call 'subjective well-being'. Only limited attention has been given to these results by philosophers who study what we call 'well-being'. In this paper, I assess the relevance of the empirical results to one philosophical theory of well-being, the desire satisfaction theory. According to the desire satisfaction theory, an individual's well-being is enhanced when her desires are satisfied. The empirical results, however, show that many of our desires are disappointed in (...) the sense that the satisfaction of those desires does not make us any happier. So I develop an argument against the desire theory of well-being on the basis of these empirical results. I then provide a defense of the desire theory based on a careful examination of the measures of subjective well-being used by psychologists. I conclude that the empirical results do not threaten the desire theory of well-being. (shrink)
In the continuing discussion and debate over the development of letter-forms in fifth-century Athens, the official casualty lists from the public cemetery have played little part. One of them, however, the so-called ‘Koroneia’ epigram and related fragments , has been used in the argument by H. B. Mattingly, who has assigned it to Delion and claims its tailed rho for the 420s. But, the epigraphical argument aside, it seems to me that in so doing he has ignored two important characteristics (...) of the lists—characteristics that are not apparent from these fragments by themselves but that can be seen from all the inscriptions of this class taken as a group. No summary of our knowledge of these lists has been written for almost 50 years, during which time the number known has almost doubled. In this paper I should like to outline the present state of our knowledge and to give some impressions of them gained from examining all known fragments and preparing them for publication. I wish to stress that these impressions were formed slowly, with no parti pris, no idea of their being used in any debate over letter-forms, but merely with the purpose of understanding as much as possible about the lists as a group. (shrink)
A second-order preference is a preference over preferences. This paper addresses the role that second-order preferences play in a theory of instrumental rationality. I argue that second-order preferences have no role to play in the prescription or evaluation of actions aimed at ordinary ends. Instead, second-order preferences are relevant to prescribing or evaluating actions only insofar as those actions have a role in changing or maintaining first-order preferences. I establish these claims by examining and rejecting the view that second-order preferences (...) trump first-order preferences. I also examine and reject the view that second-order preferences give additional normative force to an agent’s preferred first-order preferences. I conclude by arguing that second-order preferences should be integrated into an agent’s object-level preference ordering, and by explaining how best to make sense of this integration. (shrink)
Taxation and government policy related to it have only episodic appearance in classical Protestant ethical sources. Of the early sixteenth century reformers, Luther gave most attention to the subject, justifying taxation in general as necessary for the just service of government to the public good and calling the princes to spend tax monies for that good rather than their own luxury. Calvin made much the same claims but called more clearly for official church scrutiny of all government than did Luther. (...) Two centuries later John Wesley criticized English tax policy, appealing to standards of economic efficiency and compassion for the poor with little reference overtly to theology. The churches of colonial and post-revolutionary America developed no systematic, theologically rooted rationale for taxation ethics, either; but official Protestant denominational concern for such ethics has grown measurably in the most recent fifteen years. After a survey of these recent national church statements, and on the basis of them and the slender Protestant heritage on this issue, we end by posing four questions which we see as worthy of much serious thinking by contemporary American Protestant ethicists and church bodies. (shrink)