The purpose of this study was to empirically investigate the role of pluralistic ignorance in perceptions of unethical behavior. Buckley, Harvey, and Beu (2000) suggested that pluralistic ignorance plays a role such that individuals mistakenly believe that others are more unethical than they actually are. In two studies, we confirmed that pluralistic ignorance influences perceptions of ethics in a manner consistent with what Buckley et al. suggested. The implications of pluralistic ignorance in perceptions of ethics are discussed with (...) suggestions for how pluralistic ignorance might be reduced and how research in this area may be extended. (shrink)
Fair Governance: The Enforcement of Morals is a study of legal interference with individual preferences and will canvass the interdisciplinary literature in economics, psychology, philosophy, and law. It discusses the particular conditions necessary for the state to legally interfere with our freedom of choice, whether it be to either satisfy our individual pursuit of happiness (perfectionism) or to prevent us from making immoral choices (paternalism). Relatively few philosophers know much of the parallel literature on this central problem of ethics; while (...) many legal scholars are acquainted with the psychological literature on judgment biases, they are frequently unfamiliar with the philosophical literature on perfectionism. Francis H. Buckley carefully links these two notions of state power with recent empirical literature on judgment biases and happiness studies and surveys the literature, arguing for a nuanced form of social perfectionism, one which seeks to promote the kind of liberal nationalism found in the United States. (shrink)
Unethical behavior is important to study because it may have an adverse influence on organizational performance. This paper is an attempt to better understand why individuals behave as they do when faced with ethical dilemmas. We first explore the definition, theories and models of ethical behaviors and accountability. This discussion of societal ethics and accountability as forms of social control segues into a discussion of how accountability may influence ethical behaviors. Based on the business ethics and accountability literatures, we suggest (...) a number of research questions and hypotheses that need to be tested, as well as an appropriate research strategy. (shrink)
In light of the myriad accounting and corporate ethics scandals of the early 21st century, many corporate leaders and management scholars believe that ethics education is an essential component in business school education. Despite a voluminous body of ethics education literature, few studies have found support for the effectiveness of changing an individuals ethical standards through programmatic ethics training. To address this gap in the ethics education literature the present study examines the influence of an underlying social cognitive error, called (...) pluralistic ignorance. We believe that if pluralistic ignorance is reduced, the result will be more effective business ethics education programs. Eighty undergraduate management students participated in this longitudinal study, and a mixed-model ANOVA revealed that the reduction of pluralistic ignorance (due to an ethics education program designed to reduce pluralistic ignorance) resulted in higher personal ethical standards over the course of a semester, when compared to a class that did not receive a formal ethics education program as part of their course. We discuss the implications of pluralistic ignorance in training business ethics and ethics education. (shrink)
Due in part to a growing realization of the importance of the role that retailing plays in the marketing channel, and to the increasing numbers of college graduates being employed by retailers, growing attention is being placed on business students'' ethical perceptions of retailing practices. This study continues this focus by examining the ethical perceptions of collegiate business students attending two different universities which likely represent two different microcultures — conservative evangelical Protestant and secular.The results suggest that ethical perceptions may (...) vary between the students attending two universities which likely represent differing microcultures. The students attending the conservative evangelical Protestant university appear to possess ethical perceptions which are significantly more ethical than those of students attending the public university. Evidence was observed, therefore, which suggests that ethical perceptions may vary across students from differing microcultures. (shrink)
Is there really an ethical crisis? We propose that the situation is not as bad as many would have us believe. We have attempted to present an alternative explanation for some earlier reports of an ethical crisis. This has resulted in a number of research propositions. We are optimistic that there are, in spite of reports to the contrary, an overwhelming majority of ethical people populating our business community.
In this paper I argue that the problem of mental causation can be solved by distinguishing between classificatory mental properties, like being a pain, and instances of those properties.Antireductive physicalism allows only that the former be irreducibly mental. Consequently, properties like being a pain cannot have causal commerce with the physical without violating causal closure. But instances of painfulness, according to the token identity thesis, are identical with various physical tokens and can therefore have causal efficacy in the physical world. (...) Since we expect particular mental phenomena, not types or classes of mental phenomena to be involved in causal interactions, it is argued that antireductive physicalism can explain satisfactorily mental causation, despite the protests of Kim, Sosa, Honderich, and others. Being a mental state of a certain sort may have no causal efficacy, but the intentional and phenomenal properties of such states should, if my argument is correct. (shrink)
An conversation with Harry Frankfurt about his views on love, free will, and responsibility, as well as his general approach to philosophy. (Note: a revised version appears in Alex Voorhoeve, Conversations on Ethics, OUP 2009).
Can torture be morally justified? I shall criticise arguments that have been adduced against torture and demonstrate that torture can be justified more easily than most philosophers dealing with the question are prepared to admit. It can be justified not only in ticking nuclear bomb cases but also in less spectacular ticking bomb cases and even in the socalled Dirty Harry cases. There is no morally relevant difference between self-defensive killing. of a culpable aggressor and torturing someone who is (...) culpable of a deadly threat that can be averted only by torturing him. Nevertheless, I shall argue that torture should not be institutionalised, for example by torture warrants. (shrink)
abstract Can torture be morally justified? I shall criticise arguments that have been adduced against torture and demonstrate that torture can be justified more easily than most philosophers dealing with the question are prepared to admit. It can be justified not only in ticking nuclear bomb cases but also in less spectacular ticking bomb cases and even in the so‐called Dirty Harry cases. There is no morally relevant difference between self‐defensive killing of a culpable aggressor and torturing someone who (...) is culpable of a deadly threat that can be averted only by torturing him. Nevertheless, I shall argue that torture should not be institutionalised, for example by torture warrants. (shrink)
In his writings on school choice and educational justice, Harry Brighouse presents normative evaluations of various choice systems. This paper responds to Brighouse's claim that it is inadequate to criticise these evaluations with reference to empirical data concerning the effects of school choice.
In his article 'The Evil of Death' (henceforth: ED) Harry Silverstein argues that a proper refutation of the Epicurean view that death is not an evil requires the adoption of a particular revisionary ontology, which Silverstein, following Quine, calls 'four-dimensionalism'.1 In 'The Evil of Death Revisited' (henceforth: EDR) Silverstein reaffirms his earlier position and responds to several criticisms, including some targeted at his ontology. There remain, however, serious problems with Silverstein's argument, and I shall highlight five major ones below. (...) I conclude that Silverstein has not shown that an appeal to four-dimensionalism facilitates a refutation of Epicurus, although a consideration of some of Silverstein's points helps to indicate the limited scope of the Epicurean thesis. (shrink)
This critical notice provides an overview of Harry Frankfurt’s On Inequality and assesses whether Frankfurt is right to argue that equality is merely formal and empty. I counter-argue that egalitarianism, properly tweaked and circumscribed, can be defended against Frankfurt’s repudiation. After surveying the main arguments in Frankfurt’s book, I argue that whatever plausibility the ‘doctrine of sufficiency’ defended by Frankfurt may have, it does not strike a fatal blow against egalitarianism. There is nothing in egalitarianism that forbids acceptance of (...) the moral platitude expressed in sufficientarianism's positive thesis,. Nor is there anything in egalitarianism as such that makes it impossible to recognize the banal truth that there are many important things besides equality, and that many dimensions of human affairs are improperly appraised from a relational or comparative point of view. The fact that a relational or comparative point o... (shrink)
. Michael Polanyi saw his epistemology as restoring the capacity of a scientific age to believe again in the reality of God known through religion. This central feature of Polanyi’s thought, discussed in my book The Way of Discovery, is disputed by Harry Prosch, co-author with Polanyi of Meaning. Prosch’s argument is that while in Polanyi’s view science deals with an independent reality, religion and theology do not and are only works of our imagination. This article answers Prosch with (...) a review of Polanyi’s Christian affiliations, his conceptions of the common ground of science and religion, the levels of reality to which both science and religion provide access, and his expressed aim to liberate faith from scientific dogmatism. (shrink)
In this paper, I want to give an interpretation of Harry Frankfurt’s complex theory of the will with respect to the issue of “autonomy and necessity”. My central claim is that Frankfurt’s employment of the concept of the will is equivocal. He actually uses three distinct conceptions of the will without ever distinguishing them from one another. I shall introduce and justify such a clarifying tripartite distinction. Although my discussion will be limited to Frankfurt’s view of the will, this (...) distinction and the points made about its components can easily be generalized. In my opinion, then, such a tripartite distinction must form an essential part of any rich theory of the will.Both the first and the second conception of the will can readily be understood within the scope of the debate between compatibilism and incompatibilism. The third conception, however, transcends the framework of this classical opposition because the autonomy of this third kind of will positively requires necessity. Autonomy is not only compatible with necessity : according to the third conception, the former also intrinsically involves the latter. Although this conception of the will is somewhat unfamiliar and non-standard in the debate, I shall try to show that it captures an important fact about our volitional nature — a deep fact which is often overlooked or neglected. (shrink)
The former Bush administration in the United States was accused by some at the time of exhibiting a “Dirty Harry ethics.” The charge here is that the administration showed a willingness to depart from many standard ethical constraints in its response to terrorism, on the principle that the end, preventing further terrorist attacks, justified any means, including preventive war and torture. What this also suggests is that Don Siegel’s 1971 crime thriller Dirty Harry has become synonymous in the (...) popular imagination with the practice of a certain kind of brutal utilitarian logic, in which the ends justify any means, however shocking, as long as they contribute to the greater good.But whatever... (shrink)