Government interference in freeenterprise is growing. Should they intercede in business ethics and corporate responsibility; and if so, to what extent? The Morality of Business: A Profession for Human Wealthcare goes beyond the utilitarian case in discussing the various elements of business ethics, social policy, job security, outsourcing, government regulation, stakeholder theory, advertising and property rights. "Professor Machan has done it again! Profit seeking behavior by business is ethical and prudent, but it only can be ethical when (...) a person is free, and that depends upon having private property rights. Business ethics is not about ‘corporate citizenship,’ as so many others seem to believe. The contemplative life, so highly valued by many in academe, is made possible by the success of those in commerce. Which one lives a more ethical life? Read Machan’s, The Morality of Business for his answer." -Don Booth, Chapman University, California, USA. (shrink)
We live in a 'bimoral' society, in which people govern their lives by two contrasting sets of principles. On the one hand there are the principles associated with traditional morality. Although these allow a modicum of self-interest, their emphasis is on our duties and obligations to others: to treat people honestly and with respect, to treat them fairly and without prejudice, to help and are for them when needed, and ultimately, to put their needs above their own. On the other (...) hand there are the principles associated with the entrepreneurial self-interest. These also impose obligations, but of a much more limited kind. Their emphasis is competitive rather than cooperative: to advance our own interests rather than to meet the needs of others. Both sets of principles have always been present in society but in recent years, traditional moral authorities have lost much of their force and the morality of self-interest has acquired a much greater social legitimacy, over a much wider field of behavior, than ever before. The result of this is that in many situations it is no longer at all apparent which set of principles should take precedence. In this book, John Hendry traces the cultural and historical origins of the 'bimoral' society have also led to new, more flexible forms of organizing, which have released people's entrepreneurial energies and significantly enhanced the creative capacities of business. Working within these organizations, however is fraught with moral tensions as obligations and self-interest conflict and managers are pulled in all sorts of different directions. Managing them successfully poses major new challenges of leadership, and 'moral' management, as the technical problem-solving that previously characterized managerial work is increasingly accomplished by technology and market mechanisms. The key role of management becomes the political and moral one of determining purposes and priorities, reconciling divergent interests, and nurturing trust in interpersonal relationships. Exploring these tensions and challenges, Hendry identifies new issues of contemporary management and puts recognized issues into context. He also explores the challenges posed for a post-traditional society as it seeks to regulate and govern an increasingly powerful and global business sector. (shrink)
The paper focuses on the general principles established in the caselaw of the European Court of Human Rights while applying and interpreting the Article 3 of the First Protocol of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which provides: „The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.“ Article (...) 3 of the First Protocol enshrines a fundamental principle for effective political democracy, and is accordingly of prime importance in the Convention system. It refers not only to positive obligation of the Contracting State to organize democratic elections, but also guarantees individual rights, including the right to vote and the right to stand for election, although this is not explicitly stated in it. These rights are not absolute; there is room for “implied limitations” and Contracting States are given a wide margin of appreciation in this sphere. However, these limitations must be such that the rights in question were not curtailed to such an extent as to impair their very essence and deprive them of their effectiveness, should be imposed in pursuit of a legitimate aim and should not be disproportionate. (shrink)
This paper places the work of a Peruvian NGO, with which the author collaborates, within a broad context of the theory of knowledge. The three members of PRATEC were engaged in different aspects of the development enterprise. Out of their perceived failure of that enterprise, they deprofessionalised themselves and founded this NGO. The author argues that within the professional academic disciplines it is impossible to produce a knowledge that can contribute to the procreative concerns of communities, that (...) is, their concerns about their continuity and well-being. She does a brief historical review of the emergence of the modern University in the nineteenth century and the hidden political agenda of the new so called value- free knowledge it institutionalised. She ends up advocating a rejection of the double participation necessitated by professional academic disciplines. (shrink)
To properly comply with the Health Sector Act of 1992 a functioning competition should be introduced in the interests of the insured of the German Statutory Health Insurance, while still maintaining the principle of solidarity. This is a critical order-political aim, because the principles of solidarity and selfresponsibility as typically understood are functionally in contradiction. This paper analyzes the important measures of the Organizational Reform and concludes, that the principle of self-responsibility ought to obtain priority. Therefore, the German legislature (...) ought to focus on further competitively oriented reform steps. (shrink)
A free markets needs ethical norms -- Moral maturity -- Ethics in business -- History of business values -- Factories, immigrants, and wealth -- Critics of capitalism -- Personal values and the firm -- Leaders, trust and watchdogs -- Globalization's impact on American values -- Future business values and sustainability.
In this popular text, Joel Spring provocatively analyzes the ideas of traditional and non-traditional philosophers, from Plato to Paulo Freire, regarding the contribution of education to the creation of a democratic society. Each section focuses on an important theme: “Autocratic and Democratic Forms of Education;” “Dissenting Traditions in Education;” “The Politics of Culture;” “The Politics of Gender;” and “Education and Human Rights.” This edition features a special emphasis on human rights education. Spring advocates a legally binding right to an education (...) that includes an education in human rights. His argument is that until schools are required to fulfill a duty to protect human rights and teach others to protect human rights, government-operated schools will remain authoritarian rather than democratic institutions. Wheels in the Head: Educational Philosophies of Authority, Freedom, and Culture From Socrates to Human Rights, Second Edition , a critically original work, is widely used as a text for courses across the fields of philosophical, social, political, and historical foundations of education, and critical issues in education. Reflecting its global relevance, a Chinese translation was published by the University of Peking Press in 2005. (shrink)
Introduction -- Unintended consequences -- The origin of money -- Segregation -- The invisible hand -- The origin of money reconsidered -- Models and representation -- Game theory and conventions -- Conclusion.
Economist and evolutionary game theorist Daniel Friedman demonstrates that our moral codes and our market systems-while often in conflict-are really devices evolved to achieve similar ends, and that society functions best when morals and markets are in balance with each other.
The diffusion of technology in the US has taken place in an environment of both regulation and freeenterprise. Each has been subject to manipulation by doctors and medical administrators that has fostered unprecedented ethical dilemmas and legal challenges. Understanding these developments and historical precedents may allow a more rational diffusion policy for medical technology in the future.
A review of the evolution of the ethical foundations of freeenterprise reveals the essentially utilitarian ethical foundation prevailing today. To enrich those foundations the article attempts to establish the ethical validity of free transactions by relating them to the basic principle of interpersonal ethics: the Golden Rule. The validity of the transactional ethic is presented as an articulation of freedom in a valid social and economic context.
Freeenterprise economic systems evolved in the modern period as culturally transmitted values related to honesty, hard work, and education achievement emerged. One evolutionary puzzle is why most economies for the past 5,000 years have had a limited role for freeenterprise given the spectacular success of modern free economies. Another is why if humans became biologically modern 50,000 years ago did it take until 11,000 years ago for agriculture, the economic foundation of states, to (...) begin. Why didn’t freeenterprise evolve long ago and far away? (shrink)
The best way to understand a demand for freedom is to consider what it is directed against. The freeenterprise movement began in the 18th century as a protest against various restrictions on business enterprise imposed by governments and by corporations sanctioned by government. Corporations (guilds, colleges, companies, universities) had existed since Roman times, ostensibly to guarantee their member's good behaviour, and especially good service to the public. But they served their members' interests also at the expense (...) of the public by restricting competition. Non-members were excluded from the trade; to become a member one had to serve a long and low-paid apprenticeship to an established member, and to pay various sums of money (for entry fee, graduation fee, compulsory gifts and banquets, etc.). Government sanctioned these practices, and imposed restrictions of its own, ostensibly in the public interest, but also to raise revenue and to provide fees and bribes for officials: the guild had to pay for its monopoly. Viewed cynically, government was an ancient and successful branch of organised crime, a respectable protection racket. (shrink)
This book offers a distinctive treatment of Hayek's ideas as a "research program". It presents a detailed account of aspects of Hayek's intellectual development and of problems that arise within his work, and then offers some broad suggestions as to ways in which the program initiated in his work might be developed further. The book discusses how Popper and Lakatos' ideas about "research programs" might be applied within political theory. There then follows a distinctive presentation of Hayek's intellectual (...) development up to The Road to Serfdom, together with critical engagement with his later ideas. The discussion draws on a full range of his writings, makes use of some neglected earlier work on social theory and law, and also draws on archival material. This book should appeal to anyone with an interest in Hayek's work, as well as to those with a concern for twentieth century intellectual history. (shrink)
Evidence affirms that aesthetic engagement patterns our movements, often with us barely aware. This invites an examination of pre-reflective engagement within cities and also aesthetic experience as a form of the pre-reflective. The invitation is amplified because design has political implications. For instance, it can draw people in or exclude them by establishing implicitly recognized public-private boundaries. The Value Sensitive Design school, which holds that artifacts embody ethical and political values, stresses some of this. But while emphasizing that (...) design embodies implicit values, research in this field lacks sustained attention to largely unconscious background biases or values, rooted in cultural attitudes and personal interests, that lead theorists and planners—often too narrowly—to promote design organized around specific values such as defensibility. In examining these points, I draw on J. J. Gibson, a central figure for some writing on aesthetics and cities, and whom pragmatists and phenomenologists in turn influenced. Taking a cue from pragmatists in particular, I argue Gibson’s perceptual theory of affordances entails a theory of values, meaning our perception and therewith movements are inherently value-based. I advocate design that accounts for relatively constantly held values such as safety, while also handling the vast pluralism that exists and not crushing the aesthetic vibrancy of city life. (shrink)
This collection of original essays on political and legal theory concentrates on themes dealt with in the work of Felix Oppenheim, including fundamental political and legal concepts and their implications for the scope of morality in politics and international relations. Among the issues addressed are the relationship between empirical and normative definitions of "freedom", "power", and "interests", whether governments are free to act against the national interest, and whether they can ever be morally obliged to do so.
In this paper, I critically assess John Rawls' repeated claim that the duty of civility is only a moral duty and should not be enforced by law. In the first part of the paper, I examine and reject the view that Rawls' position may be due to the practical difficulties that the legal enforcement of the duty of civility might entail. I thus claim that Rawls' position must be driven by deeper normative reasons grounded in a conception of free (...) speech. In the second part of the paper, I therefore examine various arguments for free speech and critically assess whether they are consistent with Rawls' political liberalism. I first focus on the arguments from truth and self-fulfilment. Both arguments, I argue, rely on comprehensive doctrines and therefore cannot provide a freestanding political justification for free speech. Freedom of speech, I claim, can be justified instead on the basis of Rawls' political conception of the person and of the two moral powers. However, Rawls' wide view of public reason already allows scope for the kind of free speech necessary for the exercise of the two moral powers and therefore cannot explain Rawls' opposition to the legal enforcement of the duty of civility. Such opposition, I claim, can only be explained on the basis of a defence of unconstrained freedom of speech grounded in the ideas of democracy and political legitimacy. Yet, I conclude, while public reason and the duty of civility are essential to political liberalism, unconstrained freedom of speech is not. Rawls and political liberals could therefore renounce unconstrained freedom of speech, and endorse the legal enforcement of the duty of civility, while remaining faithful to political liberalism. (shrink)
Eighteenth-century Dissenting Academies provided a liberal education oriented towards practical and commercial subjects, and began the earliest sustained development of political economy teaching in Britain. Leading tutors, like Joseph Priestley and Richard Price, as well as students like William Godwin, were however divided on key issues such as luxury, and the degree to which machinery and the division of labour could be extended without harming the labouring classes.
‘Legalism’ is a term that has long been used to categorize a group of early Chinese philosophers including, but not limited to, Han Fei (Han Feizi), Shen Dao, Shen Buhai, and Shang Yang. However, the usefulness of this term has been contested for nearly as long. This essay has the goal of introducing the idea of ‘Legalism’ and laying out aspects of the political thought of Han Fei, the most prominent of these thinkers. In this essay, I first (...) lay out how the term Legalism could be useful and what would be necessary in order for it to serve that use. I then turn to an investigation of certain aspects of the most prominent Legalist philosopher, Han Fei, that is quite important for understanding his philosophy and situating him in the context of the early Chinese philosophical milieu. In particular, I focus on an analysis of Han Fei's conception of the Way (dao), arguing that features of his philosophy most often discussed, namely, his advocacy of law (fa), administrative techniques (shu), and positional power (shi), arise out of his conception of a cosmic Way. I then turn to Han Fei's understanding of the role of history, demonstrating how it differs radically from the views of his contemporaries, raising serious challenges to Confucian, Daoist, and Mohist conceptions of history. (shrink)
The concept of agency, defined counterfactually as the freedom to 'act otherwise', occupies a central place in much of contemporary social and political theory. In criticizing this concept of agency I deploy what I call an 'immanent critique', focusing upon Bhaskar's 'transcendental realism' and Rorty's anti-realist theory of linguistic contingency. Invoking Wittgenstein's argumentation from On Certainty, I go on to contend that agency and freedom cannot be 'known' in the way that social and political theorists assert. I proceed (...) to criticize Bhaskar's pro vision of transcendental realist foundations for Marxism, and Rorty's use of Wittgenstein. I argue that Bhaskar's conception of social critique and Rorty's defence of 'bourgeois liberal society' are both predicated on a similar notion of individuals' 'private' possession of agency and free choice. (shrink)
It is often claimed that science should be "value-free in that ethical, political, and social values have no legitimate role in the justification of scientific theories. Although such values may influence which hypotheses are pursued, or whether some application of scientific theories is desirable, they play no legitimate role in scientific reasoning. ;I argue against the view that all science ought to be value-free. Examining a range of cases from biology, epidemiology, pathology, and atmospheric sciences I show (...) that ethical and political values can operate in cases widely agreed to be "good science." Drawing on recent work by Helen Longino and Phillip Kitcher, I argue that in many research contexts the goals of scientific research cannot be separated from ethical and political interests. As a result, there are at least four ways ethical and political value judgments can play a legitimate role in the justification of scientific theories. First, in certain research contexts, ethical and political values help justify and apply criteria for theory choice . Second, ethical and political aims of inquiry can give scientists reason to adopt conceptual frameworks that contain ethical or political normative content. In these contexts, ethical and political value judgments play a legitimate role as auxiliary hypotheses in generating evidential relations. Third, when scientific research has implications for public policy, scientists must weigh ethical values in determining which risks are "acceptable" in classifying data. Finally, ethical and political considerations can be relevant to evaluating whether an interpretation of data is biased. ;A consequence of my view is that, in some contexts, "value-free" science is not only impossible, but also epistemologically irresponsible. Good science will sometimes require scientists to weigh the ethical and political values at stake in their research. As a result, scientists should be trained to think critically about the ethical and political dimensions of their work. (shrink)
Our self-conception derives mostly from our own experience. We believe ourselves to be conscious, rational, social, ethical, language-using, political agents who possess free will. Yet we know we exist in a universe that consists of mindless, meaningless, unfree, nonrational, brute physical particles. How can we resolve the conflict between these two visions? In _Freedom and Neurobiology_, the philosopher John Searle discusses the possibility of free will within the context of contemporary neurobiology. He begins by explaining the relationship (...) between human reality and the more fundamental reality as described by physics and chemistry. Then he proposes a neurobiological resolution to the problem by demonstrating how various conceptions of free will have different consequences for the neurobiology of consciousness. In the second half of the book, Searle applies his theory of social reality to the problem of political power, explaining the role of language in the formation of our political reality. The institutional structures that organize, empower, and regulate our lives-money, property, marriage, government-consist in the assignment and collective acceptance of certain statuses to objects and people. Whether it is the president of the United States, a twenty-dollar bill, or private property, these entities perform functions as determined by their status in our institutional reality. Searle focuses on the political powers that exist within these systems of status functions and the way in which language constitutes them. Searle argues that consciousness and rationality are crucial to our existence and that they are the result of the biological evolution of our species. He addresses the problem of free will within the context of a neurobiological conception of consciousness and rationality, and he addresses the problem of political power within the context of this analysis. A clear and concise contribution to the free-will debate and the study of cognition, _Freedom and Neurobiology_ is essential reading for students and scholars of the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Available from UMI in association with The British Library. Requires signed TDF. ;The libertarian conception of free will is incoherent, irrespective of the prospects for determinism. However, both compatibilist and hard determinist accounts of the implications of the lack of libertarian free will are inadequate. This I attempt to show primarily with respect to the notions of desert and justice. Working from a "Core Conception" of justice, I argue that we are obliged to recognize a "Fundamental Dualism" in (...) the morally proper attitude to desert and justice. This means that the compatibilist claim that moral responsibility and justice are not harmed by the lack of libertarian free will is mistaken; but so is the hard determinist claim that no account of moral responsibility and justice is possible once the lack of libertarian free will is realized. The dualistic position proposed attempts to combine the insights of compatibilism and hard determinism, while avoiding their inadequacies. Other alternative positions on the free will issue are also argued to be inadequate. In the light of these considerations it is argued that motivated illusion is a central requirement of moral and personal life. In arguing for the importance of illusion, I claim that it is a reality today, that it is mostly positive, and that by and large it ought to continue. To some extent illusion is unavoidable, but, even more interestingly, there seem to be avoidable but morally necessary illusions. The importance of illusion presents great difficulties in the moral and political sphere as well as in the cognitive sphere. Appreciation of the relatively neglected role of illusion, which follows from the basic structure of the free will problem in its moral aspects, is an important key to making progress on this problem. (shrink)
This volume was initially conceived as a thematic issue of the Sfera Politicii journal and some of its chapters (written by Gabriela Tănăsescu, Henrieta A. Şerban, Lorena Stuparu and Cristian-Ion Popa) were published as such in the 9 (163), September 2011 issue under the title „Theory and Political Ideology”. To enlarge the discussion on the theme, new papers have been added to the previous ones for inclusion in this book. By choosing to title it „Political theories versus ideologies?” (...) we wanted to suggest from the beginning the difficulty of a consensus on such a disputable topic. As it has multiple facets, there are several possible ways to deal with it. Each contribution in this collection is an attempt to clarify a different aspect of the issue. So, a category of texts seeks to explore the nature of political theory, the value neutrality thesis concerning the social sciences, and the distinctions between theory and ideology. One of them is devoted to a trans-theoretical analysis of the naturalist and the interpretivist models of political theory; another one, by scrutinizing the original meaning of „philosophy”, aims at showing that, when philosophy neglects the ancient harmony between philo and sophia, by focusing only on the last one, it runs the risk of failing into ideology; the first efforts of some modern thinkers, (fascinating by mathesis universalis) to apply mathematics to politics, or Michael Oakeshott ‘s concept of ideology are also dealt with in other texts. By broadening the discussion on the neutrality thesis, one of the articles brings to light the philosophical prejudices underlying both „the constitutional” and „the welfare” models, i.e., a „rule ethics” and, respectively, a utilitarian one. Several papers investigate the status of the theories of international relations. Some of them address the peculiar question whether the so called theories of European integration satisfy the criteria of what political scientists mean by an empirical study of phenomena. To put it differently: Can we refer to such theories as a scientifically approaching to the unification European process, i.e., as being able to explaining and making predictions? A subsidiary question would be: are they ideologically neutral? The problem is explicitly put in another article, whose author, by suspecting such theories’ claim to neutrality, is asking if it is possible not a scientific approach to the European integration, but a normative one, namely, a philosophy of European unification „without ideology”. Some articles, pointing out the weakness and vulnerabilities of the traditional theories of international relations when confronted with new political realities, endorse a constructivist interpretation that is likely to offer a better account for actions such as humanitarian interventions. In a similar line of thinking, constructivism is seen by another contributor as a perspective in terms of which some traditional political concepts should be revised. An example is „the national interest”, a concept that can be explained in all its aspects neither by the realist nor by liberal theories. Subjects such as „the end of ideology”, or the ideological left-wing deviations of today liberalism for electoral reasons, or that of a likely „international solidarity” ideology are discussed in this volume too. If it is to draw a conclusion from most contributions, we would say that, irrespective of its versions, normative, or empirical (scientific), or analytical, political theory conceived of itself as being not only different from, but also opposed to ideology. And it still pretends to be so. Lots of the facets of the topic have remained, obviously, unexplored. Among them, the contemporary efforts to reconcile the normative and the empirical dimensions of political theory would have been worth of addressing – maybe, in a future enterprise. Engaging in the difficult endeavor of assembling and integrating individual texts into a coherent account, we hope to be successful in stimulating further debate on the theme, a debate in which the present volume is only a modest contribution. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to briefl y examine one of the fundamental assumptions made in contemporary liberal political philosophy, namely that persons are free and equal. Within the contemporary liberal political thought it would be considered very uncontroversial and even trivial to claim something of the following form: “persons are free and equal” or “people think of themselves as free and equal”. The widespread nature of this assumption raises the question what justifies this (...) assumption, are there good reasons for holding it? After establishing some methodological remarks, including a distinction between having freedom-equality and being free-equal and restricting the domain of discussion to include only a subset of all moral questions, namely the questions of political morality, the paper deals with some conceptual issues concerning this assumption of persons as free and equal, such as how do free-and-equal-making properties relate to person-making properties. It then moves on to examine three broad ways the free-and-equal-mak-ing properties could be established. First, necessary property approaches, which take some necessary feature of persons to be what makes them free and equal (e.g. possessing an immortal soul). Second, contingent property approaches, which take some contingent feature of persons to be what makes them free and equal (e.g heir practise of reasoning). Third, agreement based approaches, which take some agreement or contract among persons to be the basis for their being free and equal (e.g. evolutionary emergence of our treatment of others). Strengths and weaknesses of all approaches will be examined. (shrink)
L’autore si occupa di aspetti distinti del recente fenomeno dell’uso della forza internazionale mo¬tivato dall’impellente esigenza di tutelare i diritti dell’uomo. Nel primo paragrafo tratta i pre¬supposti storico-politici del fenomeno, riferendosi in particolare alla stra¬tegia del new world order, elaborata dagli Stati Uniti nei primi anni novanta del Novecento. Nel secondo paragrafo af¬fronta gli aspetti giuridici dell’uso della forza internazionale per ragioni umanitarie, esa¬mi¬nando sia il caso in cui tale uso sia stato autorizzato del Consiglio di Sicurezza delle Nazioni Uni¬te, (...) sia il caso in cui non sia stato autorizzato. Nel terzo paragrafo si occupa del rapporto fra la prospettiva universalistica implicita nell’‘interventismo umanitario’ e l’attuale ordinamento in¬ternazionale, che ha come presupposto la sovranità degli Stati nazionali e il principio della non-ingerenza nella loro domestic jurisdiction.The author deals with distinct aspects of a recent phenomenon, i.e. the use of international force grounded on the urgency to enforce human rights. In the first section he discusses the historical and political bases of this phenomenon, by referring in particular to the strategy of ‘new world order’, worked out by the United States in the early 1990s. In the second section the author treats the legal aspects of the use of international force for humanitarian reasons, both authorised and unauthorised by the United Nations Security Council. Finally he addresses the relationship between the universalistic perspective im¬plied by ‘humanitarian interventionism’ and the present international order, based on nation states sovereignty and non-interference within their domestic jurisdiction. (shrink)
The political passages in Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge are an integral part of his arguments against ‘objectivism’ and/or a post-critical, personalist, fiduciary and fallibilist philosophy. This paper elaboratesthe social and political implications of Polanyi’s emphasis upon acceptance of one’s situation and the exercise in it of a sense of responsibility to transcendent ideals, as against attempts to start with a clean slate, to overcome all imperfections and to find some simple rule for political policy. Prescriptive duties and rights, (...) and mutual trust and solidarity, are the bases of politics, anti responsible action must start with them. But much of modern politics expresses a Gnostic impatience of our created and finite existence which results in arbitrary commitment to some radical and destructive ideology. (shrink)
This paper attempts to answer the question of whether or not government is needed to build walkways near bodies of water such as rivers and lakes, or whether private enterprise can supply such needs. In it we argue that the market is indeed capable of instituting such amenities, despite the fact that there are either none such or at most very precious few in existence at the present time. This occurrence is explained on the grounds that government has preempted (...) the market that would otherwise have taken place in this regard. We also claim that the likelihood of private walkways being built is proportional to the population density of the surrounding habitat, on the grounds that privacy in densely populated regions is already compromised, and thus the costs of such walkways is lowered. (shrink)
Mathews, Race This essay - appearing in two parts - examines aspects of the early and middle phases of the episcopate of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, in the context of a wider study of responses to Catholic social teachings in Victoria between 1891 and 1966. Part I dealt mainly with Mannix's significance and early life, and the focus in Part II is on the episcopate up to and including the onset of the Great Depression.
1. One of the main aims of this paper is to study the possibilities for free-riding type of behavior in various kinds of many-person interaction situations. In particular it will be of interest to see what kinds of game-theoretic structures, defined in terms of the participants' outcome-preferences, can be involved in cases of free-riding. I shall also be interested in the related problem or dilemma of collective action in a somewhat broader sense. By the dilemma of collective action (...) I mean, generally speaking, the conflict between individual and collective rationality and the conflict between corresponding actions, in the sense it has been discussed in recent literature. Typically (although not invariably) collective action problems and free-rider problems coexist. Let me start my discussion by considering what Elster (1985) has to say about the subject. First, the notion of collective action itself should be characterized. Elster defines it as follows (p. 137): "By collective action I mean the choice by all or most individuals of the course of action that, when chosen by all or most individuals, leads to the collectively best outcome." While this characterization is informative in the present context, I think that it is not appropriate as a general characterization. It may provide a sufficient condition, but it fails as a necessary condition. One reason for this is that there may not be a single collectively best outcome at all. Instead, I suggest we follow common sense and take collective action simply to be action by a collection or group of people, where these people (or at least many of them) act with the aim of achieving a common end or goal (this notion understood very broadly so as to include e.g. following norms, practices, and customs). We also require of a situation of collective action that the participants have several (or at least two) possible courses of action open to them. Elster's above definition of collective action goes in terms of the collectively best outcome or goal. (shrink)
Even among those who work in the field of early Chinese philosophy,the name Shen Dao (慎到, ca. 360–285 BCe) rarely calls to mind much of interest, and what it does call up are often simply depictions of him in several of the more famous texts of the time: in the Han Feizi as an advocate of positional power; in the Xunzi as being blinded by a focus on laws; or in the Zhuangzi as one who wished to discard knowledge. Few (...) through the centuries have attempted to examine his philosophical thought in detail, in part because no complete edition of his work has existed since at least the tenth century. -/- Fragments of the work attributed to Shen Dao do, however, still exist, and by examining them we can begin to piece together an understanding of his political philosophy. In doing so, we come to the realization that Shen Dao's ideas are important not only historically but also merit attention from those engaged in constructive political philosophy. In his historical context, Shen Dao was one of the first political thinkers openly to question the tight connection between ethics and politics that was assumed by a range of thinkers in the Confucian and Mohist traditions. In particular, he provides a range of arguments against the state relying on the moral cultivation of even some of its members, focusing not on changing or developing the innate tendencies of human beings but rather on working with the natures humans initially have. (shrink)
We cannot disregard that the neuroscientific research on religious phenomena such as religious experiences and rituals for example, has increased significantly the last years. Neuroscientists claim that neuroscience contributes considerably in the process of understanding religious experiences, because neuroscience is able to measure brain activity during religious experiences by way of brain‐imaging technologies. No doubt, those results of neuroscientific research on religious experiences are an important supplement to the understanding of some types of religious experiences. However, some conclusions drawn from (...) neuroscientific research on religious experiences are arguable. For example, one such conclusion is that religious experiences are actually nothing but neural activity, i.e. there is nothing ‘religious’ to the experiences at all. Another such conclusion is that a person’s religious experiences actually derive from some ultimate reality, meaning that religious experiences are real. It is the latter assertion that will be analyzed in the present paper. The question is asked whether neuroscience alone is able to affirm that religious experiences are real or whether there are, besides neuroscientific issues, also cultural‐religious assumptions that underlie this conclusion. (shrink)
Political philosophy harbors two schools of thought concerning money: the liberal, which regards it as a facilitator for freedom and enterprise, and the socialist/anarchist, which condemns it. liberal accounts of money and left-wing critiques (including those of marx and simmel) are analyzed. the role of money in promoting distributive justice is discussed using four models of money-free society. it is shown that money is pivotal in facilitating social justice based on substantive equality.