Can we reconcile the idea that we are free and responsible agents with the idea that what we do is determined according to natural laws? For centuries, philosophers have tried in different ways to show that we can. Hilary Bok takes a fresh approach here, as she seeks to show that the two ideas are compatible by drawing on the distinction between practical and theoretical reasoning.Bok argues that when we engage in practical reasoning--the kind that involves asking "what should I (...) do?" and sifting through alternatives to find the most justifiable course of action--we have reason to hold ourselves responsible for what we do. But when we engage in theoretical reasoning--searching for causal explanations of events--we have no reason to apply concepts like freedom and responsibility. Bok contends that libertarians' arguments against "compatibilist" justifications of moral responsibility fail because they describe human actions only from the standpoint of theoretical reasoning. To establish this claim, she examines which conceptions of freedom of the will and moral responsibility are relevant to practical reasoning and shows that these conceptions are not vulnerable to many objections that libertarians have directed against compatibilists. Bok concludes that the truth or falsity of the claim that we are free and responsible agents in the sense those conceptions spell out is ultimately independent of deterministic accounts of the causes of human actions.Clearly written and powerfully argued, Freedom and Responsibility is a major addition to current debate about some of philosophy's oldest and deepest questions. (shrink)
We investigate corporate giving behaviors of prestigious business award winners in Korea. In particular, we examine whether firms strategically use corporate giving to enhance corporate reputation. We find that award winners generally make more charitable contributions than nonwinners prior to winning awards and maintain significant charitable contributions after winning awards; multiple award winners make even more charitable contributions than single-award winners; and an increase in charitable contributions does not raise the probability of winning awards in the year after the increase. (...) The results suggest that CEOs of award-winning firms do not use corporate giving opportunistically to enhance their status and reputation. Rather, significant charitable contributions by award winners may be indicative of a sound business strategy to maximize long-term firm value. (shrink)
In Common Values, Sissela Bok asks what moral values, if any, might be capable of being shared across national, ethnic, religious, and other boundaries, under what circumstances, and with what qualifications.
The Canadian-American biologist Edmund Vincent Cowdry played an important role in the birth and development of the science of aging, gerontology. In particular, he contributed to the growth of gerontology as a multidisciplinary scientific field in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. With the support of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, he organized the first scientific conference on aging at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where scientists from various fields gathered to discuss aging as a scientific research topic. He also (...) edited Problems of Ageing (1939), the first handbook on the current state of aging research, to which specialists from diverse disciplines contributed. The authors of this book eventually formed the Gerontological Society in 1945 as a multidisciplinary scientific organization, and some of its members, under Cowdry's leadership, formed the International Association of Gerontology in 1950. This article historically traces this development by focusing on Cowdry's ideas and activities. I argue that the social and economic turmoil during the Great Depression along with Cowdry's training and experience as a biologist – cytologist in particular – and as a textbook editor became an important basis of his efforts to construct gerontology in this direction. (shrink)
How did one man living on an island come to acquire information about the rest of the vast archipelago? This article traces the inter-island information networks of Georg Everhard Rumphius, an employee of the Dutch East India Company, who was able to explore the natural world of the wider archipelago without ever leaving the Moluccan island of Ambon. This article demonstrates the complexities of Rumphius's inter-island networks, as he collected information about plants and objects from islands near and far. Using (...) his administrative, commercial and household networks, Rumphius was able to interact with local actors from across the social spectrum, whose own active collection, mediation and circulation of objects and information overlapped with imperial activities in the archipelago. This article examines Rumphius as both a collector and a mediator, who negotiated between multiple economies of exchange and translated information from different islands for his distant European readership. Such practices of localized translation demonstrate how knowledge produced on one island was the product of criss-crossing inter-island networks, as the information concerned underwent its own complicated processes of transmission and transformation within the archipelago before reaching its intended audience in Europe. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether corporate philanthropic decisions are associated with a firm’s listing status and business group affiliation. Analyzing a large sample of public and private firms in Korea, we find that public firms make more charitable contributions than private firms and business group-affiliated firms make more charitable contributions than non-affiliated firms. The results suggest that public firms, owing to greater public scrutiny, and business groups, owing to higher political costs, are encouraged to make more corporate charitable contributions. Further, we (...) find that greater corporate giving by public firms than private firms is more pronounced for business group-affiliated firms, compared with non-affiliated firms. The result is consistent with business groups’ strategic coordination of their affiliates’ philanthropic decisions to tunnel business group resources out to controlling shareholders who hold a larger portion of private affiliates than public affiliates. (shrink)
Individuals who would blow the whistle by making public disclosure of impropriety in their own organizations face choices of public v private good. These dilemmas, along with institutional and professional standards that might ease the way of whistleblowers, are explored.
Bok defines lying in the same way as Augustine and Kant. But she wants to oppose their position that one cannot lie to save an innocent life. This position was successfully and consistently opposed by Constant and Grotius who did so by redefining lying so that the untruth one tells to save an innocent life does not count as a lie since it does not violate a right. Bok refuses to use this way. She instead uses her analogy of deception (...) and violence. But this analogy is not, as she believes it is, intuitively clear or a good a fortiori argument. Still, if one pays attention to the ordinary sense of the words Bok uses in her confused analogy, deception and lying, force and violence, one realizes that Bok's analogy has some persuasive power, not because violence and lying are right means to save a life, but because force and deception, or force or deception are. And to see why this is so requires that Constant and Grotius's way of opposing Kant, and their definition of lying, must be adopted. Bok's apparent success with her analogy of force and lying is due to the fact that it is a shadow of the more genuine success of the analogy of force and violence and deception and lying which requires Constant and Grotius's definition of deception and lying. Thus her way of opposing Augustine and Kant is weak in trying to do it in a new approach and demonstrates the advantages of Constant and Grotius's approach. (shrink)
This article draws on archival sources to offer the first thoroughgoing account of how John Rawls moved from his undergraduate Christian ethics to the mature moral theory that undergirdedA Theory of Justice. Identifying the liberal Protestant convictions at the heart of Rawls's senior thesis, it shows how he found an alternative postwar grounding for these views by applying Wittgenstein's later arguments about concepts, criteria, and inductive reasoning to ethics. The article places Rawls in the context of a whole community of (...) mid-century American ethical theorists drawing upon Wittgenstein and trumpeting forms of moral “naturalism,” many of whom shared Rawls's Protestant heritage. It suggests that we can only make sense of the reliance of Rawls's moral theory on personal recognition, emotion, and a universal vision if we sideline the traditional dichotomies of the secularization debate and regard the postwar ethics of Rawls and his cohort as “post-Protestant.”. (shrink)
Non-reductive physicalism is committed to two theses: first, that mental properties are ontologically autonomous, and second, that physicalism is true. Jaegwon Kim has argued that this view is unstable – to honor one thesis, one must abandon the other. In this paper, I present an account of property realization that addresses Kim’s criticism and that explains how the two theses are indeed comfortably compatible.
Previous research has shed light on the detrimental effects of abusive supervision. To extend this area of research, we draw upon conservation of resources theory to propose a causal relationship between abusive supervision and psychological distress, a mediating role of psychological distress on the relationship between abusive supervision and employee silence, and a moderating effect of the supervisor–subordinate relational context on the mediating effect of abusive supervision on silence. Through an experimental study, we found the causal path linking abusive supervision (...) and psychological distress. Results of both the experimental study and a field study provided evidence that psychological distress mediated the relationship between abusive supervision and silence. Lastly, we found support that this mediation effect was contingent upon the relational context in Study 2 but not in Study 1. We discuss implications for theory and practice. (shrink)
I will argue that this intuitive description is in fact accurate: that we can and do perform actions we know to be wrong simply because we fail to decide what to do. I will then try to show that once we recognize this fact, we can identify a character trait which any plausible moral theory which is not strictly self-defeating must require that we develop. Finally, I will sketch some implications of this argument for the role of virtue in moral (...) theory, and for the nature of moral objectivity. (shrink)
How practical can ethics be? To what extent is it possible to put ethics, in the words of Samuel Johnson? In Practical Ethics, Henry Sidgwick offers the distillation of a lifetime of reflection on how to relate moral theory and practice. This book provides both a model and a cautionary example. Its lucid, urbane, and broad-gauged approach to practical moral issues is exemplary; but its very lucidity also exposes the moral risks in Sidgwick's attempt to isolate deliberation about these issues (...) from fundamental moral premises, including the interlocking intuitionist, utilitarian, and paternalist premises buttressing his conclusions about legitimate practices of violence and deceit. (shrink)
I agree with Dr Eyal that the ‘trust-promotion argument for informed consent’ fails to account for common sense intuitions about informed consent.1 Appealing to ‘social trust, especially trust in caretakers and medical institutions’ cannot, by itself, justify informed consent requirements. And stipulating, in the trust-promoting argument's first clause, that such trust is necessary is an invitation to abuse, in healthcare systems as much as in political systems. Those who are asked to give their informed consent to medical procedures have every (...) reason for healthy scepticism, given the well-documented inadequacies of existing healthcare systems. ‘Trust but verify’—the Russian folk saying that President Ronald Reagan invoked in negotiating with Soviet leaders—has relevance in a great many circumstances, not least for individuals before agreeing to undergo medical procedures or to participate in clinical studies.While it is in no way necessary for these individuals to trust health professionals, much less medical institutions more generally, what is necessary is for the health professionals …. (shrink)
Given dramatic increases in recent decades in the pace of scientific discovery and understanding of the functional organization of the brain, it is increasingly clear that engagement with the neuroscientific literature and research is central to making progress on philosophical questions regarding the nature and scope of human freedom and responsibility. While patterns of brain activity cannot provide the whole story, developing a deeper and more precise understanding of how brain activity is related to human choice and conduct is crucial (...) to the development of realistic, just, and intellectually rigorous models of human agency and moral responsibility. In this special issue, we acknowledge that “free will” and “moral responsibility” are not concepts with which neuroscience can directly engage, and instead focus on self-governance, and the capacities that contribute to self-governance, which are more tractable for scientific investigation and are prerequisites for the presence of moral responsibility. (shrink)
There are relatively few empirical studies on the impacts of corporate social responsibility policies and programs. This article addresses the research gap by analyzing the incidence of, and the conditions that affect, decoupling among CSR policies, implementation of CSR programs, and CSR impacts for various environmental and social issues. Complete decoupling is a condition of full divergence among policies, programs, and impacts amounting to purely ceremonial CSR. Using ratings from a sustainability rating agency on a sample of about 1,000 large (...) companies in 24 countries, the authors find empirical evidence not supporting a conclusion of complete decoupling. The empirical evidence suggests four levels of nondivergence in the sample. First, for most CSR issues examined, CSR policies of high quality do have relatively strong effects on CSR implementation. Second, CSR programs of high quality do have relatively strong effects on CSR impacts. Third, for most CSR issues, even low-quality CSR policies enforce the incidence and quality of programs in comparison with having no policy at all. Fourth, weak programs have more impact on the realization of CSR goals than having no program at all. The authors also find that the quality of CSR reporting and locating the responsibility for CSR at the board level reduce decoupling by strengthening the quality of CSR programs. (shrink)