Alvin Plantinga has argued that evolutionary naturalism (the idea that God does not tinker with evolution) undermines its own rationality. Natural selection is concerned with survival and reproduction, and false beliefs conjoined with complementary motivational drives could serve the same aims as true beliefs. Thus, argues Plantinga, if we believe we evolved naturally, we should not think our beliefs are, on average, likely to be true, including our beliefs in evolution and naturalism. I argue herein that our cognitive faculties are (...) less reliable than we often take them to be, that it is theism which has difficulty explaining the nature of our cognition, that much of our knowledge is not passed through biological evolution but learned and transferred through culture, and that the unreliability of our cognition helps explain the usefulness of science. (shrink)
This paper argues against the view that trolley cases are of little or no relevance to the ethics of automated vehicles. Four arguments for this view are outlined and rejected: the Not Going to Happen Argument, the Moral Difference Argument, the Impossible Deliberation Argument and the Wrong Question Argument. In making clear where these arguments go wrong, a positive account is developed of how trolley cases can inform the ethics of automated vehicles.
Derided and disregarded by many of his contemporaries, Michel Foucault is now regarded as probably the most influential thinker of the twentieth century, his work is studied across the humanities and social sciences. Reading Foucault, however, can be a challenge, as can writing about him, but in Understanding Foucault, the authors offer an entertaining and informative introduction to his thinking. They cover all the issues Foucault dealt with, including power, knowledge, subjectivity and sexuality and discuss the development of his analysis (...) throughout his work. (shrink)
Contextualism in epistemology has traditionally been understood as the view that “know” functions semantically like an indexical term, encoding different contents in contexts with different epistemic standards. But the indexical hypothesis about “know” faces a range of objections. This article explores an alternative version of contextualism on which “know” is a semantically stable term, and the truth-conditional variability in knowledge claims is a matter of pragmatic enrichment. The central idea is that in contexts with stringent epistemic standards, knowledge claims are (...) narrowed: “know” is used in such contexts to make assertions about particularly demanding types of knowledge. The resulting picture captures all of the intuitive data that motivate contextualism while sidestepping the controversial linguistic thesis at its heart. After developing the view, the article shows in detail how it avoids one influential linguistic objection to traditional contextualism concerning indirect speech reports, and then answers an objection concerning the unavailability of certain types of clarification speeches. (shrink)
Journalists covering the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech aggravated the trauma felt by victims' families and survivors, raising ethical questions about the role of media at major news events in an Internet-enabled era of continuous coverage. Some journalists breached professional norms by knocking on doors at 6 a.m., claiming a hidden camera was a breast pump and bullying reluctant interviewees. Even conscientious journalists, however, exacerbated the ordeal through their overabundance. By forcing survivors to endure repetitious interviews and making mourners feel (...) they were being stalked, journalists demonstrated they must embrace press pools to minimize harm in the future. (shrink)
Suppose a driverless car encounters a scenario where harm to at least one person is unavoidable and a choice about how to distribute harms between different persons is required. How should the driverless car be programmed to behave in this situation? I call this the moral design problem. Santoni de Sio defends a legal-philosophical approach to this problem, which aims to bring us to a consensus on the moral design problem despite our disagreements about which moral principles provide the correct (...) account of justified harm. He then articulates an answer to the moral design problem based on the legal doctrine of necessity. In this paper, I argue that Santoni de Sio’s answer to the moral design problem does not achieve the aim of the legal-philosophical approach. This is because his answer relies on moral principles which, at least, utilitarians have reason to reject. I then articulate an alternative reading of the doctrine of necessity, and construct a partial answer to the moral design problem based on this. I argue that utilitarians, contractualists and deontologists can agree on this partial answer, even if they disagree about which moral principles offer the correct account of justified harm. (shrink)
Traditional approaches tend to regard figuration (and by extension, deference in general) as an essentially marked or playful use of language, which is associated with a pronounced stylistic effect. For linguistic purposes, however, there is no reason for assigning a special place to deferred uses that are stylistically notable — the sorts of usages that people sometimes qualify with a phrase like "figuratively speaking." There is no important linguistic difference between using redcoat to refer to a British soldier and using (...) suit to refer to a corporate executive (as in "A couple of suits stopped by to talk about the new products"). What creates the stylistic effect of the latter is not the mechanism that generates it, but the marked background assumptions that license it — here, the playful presupposition that.. (shrink)
The phenomenon of systematic polysemy offers a fruitful domain for examining the theoretical differences between lexicological and lexicographic approaches to description. We consider here the process that provides for systematic conversion of count to mass nouns in English (a chicken Æ chicken, an oak Æ oak etc.). From the point of view of lexicology, we argue, standard syntactic and pragmatic tests suggest the phenomenon should be described by means of a single unindividuated transfer function that does not distinguish between interpretations (...) (rabbit = "meat" vs. "fur"). From the point of view of lexicography, however, these pragmatically determined"sense precisions" are made part of explicit description via the inclusion of semantic "licenses," a mechanism distinct from lexical rules. (shrink)
1. Introduction Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth and John Laurent -/- 2. The Role of Thumos in Adam Smith’s System Lisa Hill -/- 3. Adam Smith’s Treatment of the Greeks in The Theory of Moral Sentiments: The Case of Aristotle Richard Temple-Smith -/- 4. Adam Smith, Religion and the Scottish Enlightenment Pete Clarke -/- 5. The ‘New View’ of Adam Smith and the Development of his Views Over Time James E. Alvey -/- 6. The Moon Before the Dawn: A Seventeenth-Century (...) Precursor of Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments Jack Barbalet -/- 7. Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy as Ethical Self-formation Ann Firth -/- 8. Science and its Applications in The Theory of Moral Sentiments David Thorpe -/- 9. Adam Smith, Charles Darwin and the Moral Sense John Laurent and Geoff Cockfield. (shrink)
The paper begins by exploring whether a “tendency to avarice” exists in most capitalist business organisations. It concludes that it does and that this is problematic. The problem centres on the potential threat to the integrity of human character and the disablement of community.What, then, can be done about it? Building on previous work in which MacIntyre’s notions of practice and institution were explored , the paper offers a philosophically based argument in favour of the rediscovery of craftsmanship by those (...) who work in business organisations, and the exercise of craftsmanship in community.The practical implications for individuals of this way of conceptualising business, and the virtues which must then come to the fore, are discussed. (shrink)
Even if our justified beliefs are closed under known entailment, there may still be instances of transmission failure. Transmission failure occurs when P entails Q, but a subject cannot acquire a justified belief that Q by deducing it from P. Paradigm cases of transmission failure involve inferences from mundane beliefs (e.g., that the wall in front of you is red) to the denials of skeptical hypotheses relative to those beliefs (e.g., that the wall in front of you is not white (...) and lit by red lights). According to the Bayesian explanation, transmission failure occurs when (i) the subject’s belief that P is based on E, and (ii) P(Q|E) P(Q). No modifications of the Bayesian explanation are capable of accommodating such cases, so the explanation must be rejected as inadequate. Alternative explanations employing simple subjunctive conditionals are fully capable of capturing all of the paradigm cases, as well as those missed by the Bayesian explanation. (shrink)
This paper is a further development of two previous pieces of work in which modern virtue ethics, and in particular MacIntyre’s related notions of “practice” and “institution,” have been explored in the context of business. It first introduces and defines the concept of corporate character and seeks to establish why it is important. It then reviews MacIntyre’s virtues-practice-institution schema and the implications of this at the level of the institution in question—the corporation—and argues that the concept of corporate character follows (...) from, but is a novel development of, MacIntyre’s schema. The paper contrasts corporate character and virtues with the more familiar concepts of corporate culture and values. The constitutive and substantive elementsof corporate character, including the essential corporate virtues, are then drawn out and illustrated with reference to the cases explored in Koehn . Finally, the paper acknowledges and counters a specific criticism of this approach. (shrink)
Abstract: After exploring MacIntyre’s (1985) practice—institution distinction, the article demonstrates its applicability to business-as-practice and to corporations as institutions. It then considers the implications of MacIntyre’s schema to ethical schizophrenia, to the claim that the market is a source of the virtues and to the opposite claim that capitalism corrodes character. A fully worked out modern virtue ethics, based on MacIntyre’s work, is then established and the claim is made and substantiated that such an understanding of MacIntrye’s work revitalises it (...) and makes it directly applicable to business and to corporations. (shrink)
Probability is increasingly important for our understanding of the world. What is probability? How do we model it, and how do we use it? Timothy Childers presents a lively introduction to the foundations of probability and to philosophical issues it raises. He keeps technicalities to a minimum, and assumes no prior knowledge of the subject.
This paper extends previous discussions of corporate character and corporate virtues. By drawing particularly on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre, it offers a perspective on context-dependent categories of the virtues. It then provides a philosophically grounded framework which enables a discussion of which virtues are required for business organizations to qualify as virtuous. It offers a preliminary taxonomy of such corporate virtues and provides a revised definition of corporate character.
The paper begins by exploring whether a “tendency to avarice” exists in most capitalist business organisations. It concludes that it does and that this is problematic. The problem centres on the potential threat to the integrity of human character and the disablement of community.What, then, can be done about it? Building on previous work (Moore, 2002) in which MacIntyre’s notions of practice and institution were explored (MacIntyre, 1985), the paper offers a philosophically based argument in favour of the rediscovery of (...) craftsmanship by those who work in business organisations, and the exercise of craftsmanship in community.The practical implications for individuals of this way of conceptualising business, and the virtues which must then come to the fore, are discussed. (shrink)
This paper is a further development of two previous pieces of work (Moore 2002, 2005) in which modern virtue ethics, and in particular MacIntyre’s (1985) related notions of “practice” and “institution,” have been explored in the context of business. It first introduces and defines the concept of corporate character and seeks to establish why it is important. It then reviews MacIntyre’s virtues-practice-institution schema and the implications of this at the level of the institution in question—the corporation—and argues that the concept (...) of corporate character follows from, but is a novel development of, MacIntyre’s schema. The paper contrasts corporate character and virtues with the more familiar concepts of corporate culture and values. The constitutive and substantive elementsof corporate character, including the essential corporate virtues, are then drawn out and illustrated with reference to the cases explored in Koehn (1998). Finally, the paper acknowledges and counters a specific criticism of this approach. (shrink)
The comparison of corporate social performance with corporate financial performance has been a popular field of study over the past 25 years. The results, while broadly conclusive of a positive relationship, are not entirely consistent. In addition, most of the previous studies have concentrated on large-scale cross-industry studies and often with a single variable for corporate social performance, in order to produce statistically significant results. This weakens the richness of understanding that might be obtained from a single industry study with (...) multiple social variables, which would also allow investigation of inter-relationships between individual and sub-sets of social performance measures and between individual and sub-sets of social performance and financial performance measures. There have also been criticisms that the results lack a rigorous theoretical basis, and the paper demonstrates clearly how stakeholder theory must form the basis for this area of research. Following a review of the literature this paper presents the initial findings from a study of the U.K. Supermarket industry which suggest that contemporaneous social and financial performance are negatively related, while prior-period financial performance is positively related with subsequent social performance. Positive relationships between both age and size of the company with social performance are also found. (shrink)
Some expressions of English, like the demonstratives ‘this’ and ‘that’, are referentially promiscuous: distinct free occurrences of them in the same sentence can differ in content relative to the same context. One lesson of referentially promiscuous expressions is that basic logical properties like validity and logical truth obtain or fail to obtain only relative to a context. This approach to logic can be developed in just as rigorous a manner as David Kaplan’s classic logic of demonstratives. The result is a (...) logic that applies to arguments in English containing multiple occurrences of referentially promiscuous expressions. (shrink)
Although Fair Trade has been in existence for more than 40 years, discussion in the business and business ethics literature of this unique trading and campaigning movement between Southern producers and Northern buyers and consumers has been limited. This paper seeks to redress this deficit by providing a description of the characteristics of Fair Trade, including definitional issues, market size and segmentation and the key organizations. It discusses Fair Trade from Southern producer and Northern trader and consumer perspectives and highlights (...) the key issues that currently face the Fair Trade movement. It then identifies an initial research agenda to be followed up in subsequent papers. (shrink)
The current economic and preceding financial crises seem to provide evidence in favour of the self-destruction thesis of capitalism. Responses to the crisis have been polarised. Some suggest that regulatory changes are all that is needed. Others suggest the need to change the economic system by developing a new global economic ethic. The first is too limited, the second too utopian. This article suggests that a MacIntyrean virtue ethics approach provides both a more convincing diagnosis of the problem and leads (...) to a more workable prescription. First, we need to understand the internal contradictions of the tradition that has developed of how to ‘do’ business. Then we need the virtues to be exercised inside practices and institutions. But virtue itself needs to be institutionalised; we need an appropriate governance of virtue in organizations. Even though governance is usually taken to ‘crowd out’ virtue, this article proposes an approach to governance that ‘crowds in’ virtue. (shrink)
Karl Popper is a philosopher of knowledge and politics, rationality and freedom. His ideas have won acceptance and provoked controversy among an academic as well as a more general audience. This book aims to broaden our understanding of Popper's philosophy. It is one of the few studies to present his work as an evolving "system of ideas", and to take account of the full range of his writings. The book discusses Popper's early philosophy of politics, science and social science, as (...) well as his later philosophy, which offers an evolutionary account of human nature and the growth of knowledge. Contrary to many earlier interpretations, Stokes argues that we should look to Popper's political values to understand the unity of his work and the evolution of his theory of knowledge and general philosophy. The chapters in this book examine Popper's arguments, and offer critical analysis of the achievements and shortcomings of his philosophy. In particular, Stokes considers the problems of rationality, politics and ethics in the context of debates between the Frankfurt School of critical theory and critical rationalism. The book will be of interest to second-year undergraduates and above in the fields of philosophy and critical theory. (shrink)
Whether it seems that you know something depends in part upon practical factors. When the stakes are low, it can seem to you that you know that p, but when the stakes go up it'll seem to you that you don't. The apparent sensitivity of knowledge to stakes presents a serious challenge to epistemologists who endorse a stable semantics for knowledge attributions and reject the idea that whether you know something depends on how much is at stake. After arguing that (...) previous attempts to meet this challenge fall short, I offer a new solution: the unassertability account. The account starts with the observation that high stakes subjects aren't in an epistemic position to assert. We generally presuppose that knowing is sufficient for epistemically proper assertion, but this presupposition only stands up to scrutiny if we draw a distinction between two notions of epistemic propriety, and we shouldn't expect ordinary speakers to draw it. A subject in a high stakes situation who fails to draw the distinction will be led by the sufficiency claim to treat anything she isn't in a position to assert as something she isn't in a position to know. The sensitivity of epistemically proper assertion to practical factors explains the merely apparent sensitivity of knowledge to stakes. (shrink)
This paper presents a discussion of my personal experiences of selling a family farm and analyses those experiences using the layered account form of autoethnographic writing. I describe how the cultural influences from family farming led me, a farmer’s son, to also become a farmer, why farmers may choose to continue in their occupation sometimes against increasingly negative economic pressures, why I continued farming for as long as I did, and the thoughts and feelings associated with my decision to sell (...) my farm and exit the industry. I discuss the emotions that I experienced and place them in a theoretical context that makes them more understandable to others. Because this paper examines the effects from my decision to retire from farming it makes a contribution to the limited literature on farmers’ retirement. (shrink)
In an earlier defense of the view that the fundamental logical properties of logical truth and logical consequence obtain or fail to obtain only relative to contexts, I focused on a variation of Kaplan’s own modal logic of indexicals. In this paper, I state a semantics and sketch a system of proof for a first-order logic of demonstratives, and sketch proofs of soundness and completeness. (I omit details for readability.) That these results obtain for the first-order logic of demonstratives shows (...) that the significance of demonstratives for logic exceeds their behavior as rigid designators in counterfactual reasoning, or reasoning about alternative possibilities. Furthermore, the results in this paper help address one common objection to the view that logical truth and consequence obtain only relative to contexts. According to this objection, the view entails that logical consequence is not formal. (shrink)
Transitional justice scholars are increasingly concerned with measuring the impact of transitional justice initiatives. Scholars often assume that TJ mechanisms must be properly designed and ordered to achieve lasting effect, but the impact of TJ timing and sequencing has attracted relatively little theoretical or empirical attention. Focusing on Latin America, this article explores variation within the region as to when TJ occurs and the order in which mechanisms are implemented. We utilize qualitative comparative analysis to assess the impact of TJ (...) timing and sequencing on democratic development. We find little evidence for path dependency owing to the chronological order of mechanisms. We do find, however, that amnesties and trials approach a sufficient condition for democratic consolidation in Latin America; trials, however, come closest to being a necessary condition for successful democratic consolidation. (shrink)
The debate concerning corporate moral agency is normally conducted through philosophical arguments in articles which argue from only one point of view. This paper summarises both the arguments for and against corporate moral agency and concludes from this that the arguments in favour have more weight. The paper also addresses the way in which the law in the U.K. and the U.S.A. currently views this issue and shows how it is supportive of the concept of corporate moral agency. The paper (...) concludes by considering the implications of the debate for business ethics in general, and stakeholder theory and virtue ethics in particular. (shrink)
The product/process distinction with regards to “argument” has a longstanding history and foundational role in argumentation theory. I shall argue that, regardless of one’s chosen ontology of arguments, arguments are not the product of some process of arguing. Hence, appeal to the distinction is distorting the very organizational foundations of argumentation theory and should be abandoned.
Most research on student plagiarism defines the concept very narrowly or with much ambiguity. Many studies focus on plagiarism involving large swaths of text copied and pasted from unattributed sources, a type of plagiarism that the overwhelming majority of students seem to have little trouble identifying. Other studies rely on ambiguous definitions, assuming students understand what the term means and requesting that they self-report how well they understand the concept. This study attempts to avoid these problems by examining student perceptions (...) of more complex citation issues. We presented 240 students with a series of examples, asked them to indicate whether or not each should be considered plagiarism, and followed up with a series of demographic and attitudinal questions. The examples fell within the spectrum of inadequate citation, patchwriting, and the reuse of other people’s ideas. Half were excerpted from publicized cases of academic plagiarism, and half were modified from other sources. Our findings indicated that students shared a very strong agreement that near verbatim copy and paste and patchwriting should be considered plagiarism, but that they were much more conflicted regarding the reuse of ideas. Additionally, this study found significant correlation between self-reported confidence in their understanding and the identification of more complex cases as plagiarism, but this study found little correlation between academic class status or exposure to plagiarism detection software and perceptions of plagiarism. The latter finding goes against a prevailing sentiment in the academic literature that the ability to recognize plagiarism is inherently linked to academic literacy. Overall, our findings indicate that more pedagogical emphasis may need to be placed on complex forms of plagiarism. (shrink)
In this paper the problematic nature of the morality of management, in particular related to business organisations operating under Anglo-American capitalism, is explored. MacIntyre’s critique of managers in After Virtue serves as the starting point but this critique is itself subjected to analysis leading to a more balanced and contemporary view of the morality of management than MacIntyre provides. Paradoxically perhaps, MacIntyre’s own virtues-goods-practice-institution schema is shown to provide a way of re-imagining business organisations and management and thereby holds out (...) the possibility of resolving the issue of the morality of management within such organisations. Implications for management practice are drawn out. (shrink)
Building on recent work by Delia Graff Fara and Ora Matushansky on appellative constructions like ‘Mirka called Roger handsome’, I argue that if Millianism about proper names is true, then the quantifier ‘something’ in ‘Mirka called Roger something’ is best understood as a kind of substitutional quantifier. Any adequate semantics for such quantifiers must explain both the logical behavior of ‘Mirka called Roger something’ and the acceptability of ‘so’-anaphora in ‘Mirka called Roger something, and everyone so called is handsome’. Millianism (...) about proper names is inconsistent with such quantifiers being standard non-substitutional second-order quantifiers. But this is not the only option for Millianism: I provide two different propositional semantics for substitutional quantification, each of which is adequate in the sense above, given Millianism. One of these is based on Tobias Rosefeldt’s work on non-nominal quantification, and I identify in what way Rosefeldt’s semantics is substitutional. (shrink)
Demonstratives and Indexicals In the philosophy of language, an indexical is any expression whose content varies from one context of use to another. The standard list of indexicals includes pronouns such as “I”, “you”, “he”, “she”, “it”, “this”, “that”, plus adverbs such as “now”, “then”, “today”, “yesterday”, “here”, and “actually”. Other candidates include the tenses … Continue reading Demonstratives and Indexicals →.
This paper contrasts the normative foundations of the stakeholder and shareholder theories of the firm. It demonstrates how the shareholder theory of the firm appears to have at least as much normative support as stakeholder theory and suggests that a way forward may be for a variant of pure shareholder theory to emerge.
The standard truth-conditional semantics for substitutional quantification, due to Saul Kripke, does not specify what proposition is expressed by sentences containing the particular substitutional quantifier. In this paper, I propose an alternative semantics for substitutional quantification that does. The key to this semantics is identifying an appropriate propositional function to serve as the content of a bound occurrence of a formula containing a free substitutional variable. I apply this semantics to traditional philosophical reasons for interest in substitutional quantification, namely, theories (...) of truth and ontological commitment. (shrink)
Catholic Social Teaching aspires to an economy that serves needs, upholds justice, and inculcates subsidiarity. But it suffers from a significant omission—it fails to look “inside” the business organisations that comprise the fundamental building blocks of the economic system. It is therefore ill-equipped to suggest how businesses could be reformed to meet these aspirations. MacIntyre’s Thomistic Aristotelian account of the relationships between goods, virtues, practices and institutions provides resources that could enable CST to overcome this lacuna. This paper describes the (...) MacIntyrean account and compares it with CST’s existing categories. It then analyses the case of the Lloyds Banking Group. This allows not only diagnosis, but potentially a prescriptive account of how virtue may be “crowded-in” to business organisations. The paper concludes by suggesting that this approach might make a distinctive contribution to CST, and hence enable CST to make an even more significant contribution to business ethics. (shrink)
The new millennium has opened with a perfectly splendid decade of scholarship relating to the ‘Species Problem’. So, at least we now have a clear idea of what this is, but still no clear solution that will suit both biologists and philosophers. Richards has recently attempted to capture this story and to fill the void with two projects in one book. The first project is a descriptive and analytical history of the problem, which provides links to other recent works and (...) thereby allows one to fully reconstruct the literature. The second is prescriptive and presents Richards’s solution via a ‘division of labour in a conceptual framework’ followed by recapitulation and conclusions. It is my assessment as presented here that the first project will appeal more to biologists and the second one to philosophers. There is much of value in Richards approach including an excellent evaluation of the essentialism story in the descriptive project and clear exposition of several key issues such as the ‘species-as-individuals’ versus ‘species-as-categories’ debate which are covered in the second project. Interesting and informative as these arguments undoubtedly are, something still seems to be missing here. In this essay I suggest that this perception arises from Richards’ failure to embrace ideas about the importance of relativity and contingency in species definitions and further that his new conceptual framework lacks one hierarchical level to link overarching lineage concepts of species as evolutionary units with practical definitions for their recognition. In my view, the missing link is reproductive isolation and I conclude my review by presenting a prescriptive project for biologists to balance the one that Richards has delivered to philosophers. (shrink)