What is the nature of law and what is the best way to discover it? This book argues that law is best understood in terms of the social functions it performs wherever it is found in human society. In order to support this claim, law is explained as a kind of institution and as a kind of artefact. To say that it is an institution is to say that it is designed for creating and conferring special statuses to people so (...) as to alter their rights and responsibilities toward each other. To say that it is an artefact is to say that it is a tool of human creation that is designed to signal its usability to people who interact with it. This picture of law's nature is marshalled to critique theories of law that see it mainly as a product of reason or morality, understanding those theories via their conceptions of law's function. It is also used to argue against those legal positivists who see law's functions as relatively minor aspects of its nature. -/- This method of conceptualizing law's nature helps us to explain how the law, understood as social facts, can make normative demands upon us. It also recommends a methodology for understanding law that combines elements of conceptual analysis with empirical research for uncovering the purposes to which diverse peoples put their legal activities. (shrink)
This article responds to two unresolved and crucial problems of cognitive science: (1) What is actually accomplished by functions of the nervous system that we ordinarily describe in the intentional idiom? and (2) What makes the information processing involved in these functions semantic? It is argued that, contrary to the assumptions of many cognitive theorists, the computational approach does not provide coherent answers to these problems, and that a more promising start would be to fall back on mathematical communication theory (...) and, with the help of evolutionary biology and neurophysiology, to attempt a characterization of the adaptive processes involved in visual perception. Visual representations are explained as patterns of cortical activity that are enabled to focus on objects in the changing visual environment by constantly adjusting to maintain levels of mutual information between pattern and object that are adequate for continuing perceptual control. In these terms, the answer proposed to (1) is that the intentional functions of vision are those involved in the establishment and maintenance of such representations, and to (2) that semantic features are added to the information processes of vision with the focus on objects that these representations accomplish. The article concludes with proposals for extending this account of intentionality to the higher domains of conceptualization and reason, and with speculation about how semantic information-processing might be achieved in mechanical systems. (shrink)
At the beginning of his Metaphysics, Aristotle attributed several strange-sounding theses to Plato. Generations of Plato scholars have assumed that these could not be found in the dialogues. In heated arguments, they have debated the significance of these claims, some arguing that they constituted an 'unwritten teaching' and others maintaining that Aristotle was mistaken in attributing them to Plato. In a prior book-length study on Plato's late ontology, Kenneth M. Sayre demonstrated that, despite differences in terminology, these claims correspond (...) to themes developed by Plato in the Parmenides and the Philebus. In this book, he shows how this correspondence can be extended to key, but previously obscure, passages in the Statesman. He also examines the interpretative consequences for other sections of that dialogue, particularly those concerned with the practice of dialectical inquiry. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly becoming a popular business concept in developed economies. As typical of other business concepts, it is on its way to globalization through practices and structures of the globalized capitalist world order, typified in Multinational Corporations (MNCs). However, CSR often sits uncomfortably in this capitalist world order, as MNCs are often challenged by the global reach of their supply chains and the possible irresponsible practices inherent along these chains. The possibility of irresponsible practices puts global (...) firms under pressure to protect their brands even if it means assuming responsibilities for the practices of their suppliers. Pressure groups understand this burden on firms and try to take advantage of the situation. This article seeks to challenge the often taken-for-granted-assumption that firms should be accountable for the practices of their suppliers by espousing the moral (and sometimes legal) underpinnings of the concept of responsibility. Except where corporate control and or corporate grouping exist, it identifies the use of power as a critical factor to be considered in allocating responsibility in firm-supplier relationship; and suggests that the more powerful in this relationship has a responsibility to exert some moral influence on the weaker party. The article highlights the use of code of conducts, corporate culture, anti-pressure group campaigns, personnel training and value reorientation as possible sources of wielding positive moral influence along supply chains. (shrink)
Business school faculty have begun to increase ethics instruction, but very little has been done to assess the effectiveness of this instruction. Curricula-wide studies present conflicting results of the effect of ethics integration into the business curricula. Several studies suggest that courses like business ethics and business and society might have an effect on the ethical awareness or ethical reasoning of business students. A belief of many individuals interested in business ethics is that students must be exposed to ethical awareness (...) and ethical reasoning in business ethics and business and society-type courses and this should be supplemented by discussions of these topics in various business courses such as Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and others.This study reports the results of integrating a unit of business ethics into eleven accounting classes at two universities. An approach for measuring the effect of ethics integration into accounting and other business courses is suggested, and an assessment is made of the impact of ethics integration on students in accounting classes. Results indicate that the principles on which students rely when making moral decisions were affected by ethics integration. After ethics integration, students relied more heavily on the disclosure rule, the golden rule, and the professional ethic. (shrink)
I argue that there is methodological space for a functional explanation of the nature of law that does not commit the theorist to a view about the value of that function for society, nor whether law is the best means of accomplishing it. A functional explanation will nonetheless provide a conceptual framework for a better understanding of the nature of law. First I examine the proper role for function in a theory of law and then argue for the possibility of (...) a neutral functional theory, addressing issues raised by Leslie Green, Stephen Perry, Michael Moore and John Finnis. (shrink)
Abstract: We sometimes say our moral claims are "objectively true," or are "right, even if nobody believes it." These additional claims are often taken to be staking out metaethical positions, representative of a certain kind of theorizing about morality that "steps outside" the practice in order to comment on its status. Ronald Dworkin has argued that skepticism about these claims so understood is not tenable because it is impossible to step outside such practices. I show that externally skeptical metaethical theory (...) can withstand his attacks, thereby defending the possibility of this kind of metatheoretical method and showing that the additional objectivity claims still make sense as external claims. Four interpretations of the additional objectivity claims can still be understood externally: as secondary properties, as arguing for some form of causal correspondence, as explaining error, and under Blackburn's expressivism. In the end, Dworkin's argument can be turned against itself. (shrink)
I argue that law is not best considered an essentially contested concept. After first explaining the notion of essential contestability and disaggregating the concept of law into several related concepts, I show that the most basic and general concept of law does not fit within the criteria generally offered for essential contestation. I then buttress this claim with the additional explanation that essential contestation is itself a framework for understanding complex concepts and therefore should only be applied when it is (...) useful to gain a greater understanding of uses of the concept to which it is applied (adducing criteria for making such judgments of usefulness). With that in mind, I then show that applying the appellation of essential contestation to the concept of law does not helpfully illuminate the most general concept of law (usually of most interest to legal philosophers) and therefore it should not be used, while allowing that it might be more useful for the related concept of the rule of law. (shrink)
Contesting much contemporary epistemology and cognitive science, noted philosopher Kenneth M. Sayre argues that, while some cognitive attitudes such as believing take propositions as objects, there are many others whose objects are instead states of affairs.
The most influential theory of law in current analytic legal philosophy is legal positivism, which generally understands law to be a kind of institution. The most influential theory of institutions in current analytic social philosophy is that of John Searle. One would hope that the two theories are compatible, and in many ways they certainly are. But one incompatibility that still needs ironing out involves the relation of the social rule that undergirds the validity of any legal system (H.L.A. Hart's (...) rule of recognition) to Searle's notion of codification: the idea that institutions need official declarations of their constitutive rules in order to enjoy the full benefits of institutions. The incompatibility arises from the fact that, in order to do its institutional work, the basic validity rule must be codified in Searle's sense—yet, given the particular role it has in legal positivism, it may be impossible to codify in the Searlean sense. In this paper I develop the incompatibility in detail, consider and reject consigning the basic validity rule to Searle's “Background” capacities that support institutional facts, and conclude that the best route to eliminating it while doing a minimum of damage to the two theories is to make a slight emendation to Searle's theory of institutions. (shrink)
Applying the analytical methods of modern logic to problems of interpretation in Plato, the author traces the development of Plato's analytic method from the crude form expressed in the Phaedo to the considerably more sophisticated and powerful techniques practiced in the later methodological dialogues.
Just as recognition and pursuit of the human good take place in language and action, so too do they unfold in encounter with the material and visual. The ethical crises, projects, and striving we see in everyday religious life are worked out not just in the intersubjective play and politics of language but also in encounter with, in dwelling with, material and visual substances and forms. This essay considers the material conditions that make possible the “ethical pleasures” sought by Indonesian (...) painter A. D. Pirous in making and displaying contemporary works of “Islamic art,” most especially works that make “visual recitation” of passages from the Qur'an. (shrink)
The problem of semantic content is the problem of explicating those features of brain processes by virtue of which they may properly be thought to possess meaning or reference. This paper criticizes the account of semantic content associated with fodor's version of cognitive science, And offers an alternative account based on mathematical communication theory. Its key concept is that of a neuronal representation maintaining a high-Level of mutual information with a designated external state of affairs under changing conditions of perceptual (...) presentation. (shrink)
I examine the impact of the presence of anarchists among key legal officials upon the legal positivist theories of H.L.A. Hart and Joseph Raz. For purposes of this paper, an anarchist is one who believes that the law cannot successfully obligate or create reasons for action beyond prudential reasons, such as avoiding sanction. I show that both versions of positivism require key legal officials to endorse the law in some way, and that if a legal system can continue to exist (...) and function when its key officials reject the reason-giving character of law, then we have a reason to re-examine and amend legal positivism. (shrink)
Parmenides is generally recognized as Plato's most difficult dialogue. This work argues that the key to unlocking the puzzles of Parmenides II lies in the proper interpretive pairing of the eight hypotheses under which its arguments are grouped.
A model of causation is presented which shares the advantages of Reichenbach's definition in terms of the screening-off relation, but which has the added advantage of distinguishing cause and effect without reference to temporal directionality. This model is defined in terms of the masking relation, which in turn is defined in terms of the equivocation relation of communication theory.
Notions of procedural justice alone are sufficient to support evidentiary exclusions in a wide variety of legal and law-like institutions that focus on conflict resolution, including courts. Special attention is paid to the relevance and need for exclusion of parties’ own assessments of the value of their claims.
Matter as such produces nothing, changes nothing, does nothing; and however convenient it may afterwards be to abbreviate our nomenclature and our descriptions, we must most carefully realize in the outset that the spermatozoon, the nucleus, the chromosomes or the germ-plasma can never act as matter alone, but only as seats of energy and as centres of force.Science is a human endeavor that is rarely if ever just about science: it is also a social, political, and economic enterprise. As such (...) it is structured around an ethos: a belief system, or theory, that accounts for the nature of relevant aspects of existence. Much like other belief systems in the broader culture in which they occur, we build stories in defense... (shrink)
Economic success in competitive systems requires resource redistribution to those who fail. Once we recognize that success in competitive endeavors depends meaningfully on the failure of others, policy implications that involve strong redistributive mechanisms should be drawn. Particular attention is paid to the role of education in fostering a sense of self-esteem necessary to counter the effects of internalized competition.
This paper reports on a survey that investigated the moral decision processes of accountants. A formal belief revision model is adapted and hypotheses based on theorizations from the cognitive-developmental school are tested. The moral decision processes of accountants are hypothesized to be influenced by professional expectations, organizational expectations and internalized expectations. Subjects provided specific demographic data and were asked to access the appropriateness of fourteen principles for making moral decisions in business. Subjects were also asked to indicate which of the (...) fourteen approaches would be most appropriate for resolving each of five ethical situations that are representative of common ethical dilemmas in accounting.Subjects'' responses to the appropriateness of the fourteen principles are reduced to two dimensions using factor analysis. The factors are consistent and representative of important underlying dimensions of the stages of moral development. Demographic variables are correlated with the extracted factors using analysis of variance. (shrink)
This book is the result of a three-year study undertaken by a multidisciplinary working party of the Institute of Medical Ethic (UK). The group was chaired by a moral theologian, and its members included biological and ethological scientists, toxicologists, physicians, veterinary surgeons, an expert in alternatives to animal use, officers of animal welfare organizations, a Home Office Inspector, philosophers, and a lawyer. Coming from these different backgrounds, and holding a diversity of moral views, the members produced the agreed report as (...) a result of detailed and rigorous discussions. The book sets out facts about animal experiments and about animal abilities to experience pain, distress and anxiety. There is a detailed examination of the moral claims related to the benefits likely to accrue from animal research, and of strategies for weighing these benefits against the harm caused to animals, in order to decide whether particular research projects ought or ought not to proceed. This leads to consideration of the statutory and non-statutory controls which safeguard standards in such research. The final section explores a variety of philosophical arguments about the use of animals in research, and offers a philosophical justification for the Working Party's more practical conclusions. Written in clear, nontechnical language, this book is accessible to lay people as well as to scientists. It is the first such document to emerge from a meeting of people with such widely differing views on this highly controversial subject, and represents a major contribution towards informing and raising the quality of contemporary debate. The book is unique in drawing together material and ideas never before found in one volume. It will interest a broad spectrum of readers, from ethicists and animal rights advocates to scientific researchers and laboratory administrators, along with general readers concerned about this compelling issue. (shrink)
In this article, we resituate a long-standing duality of (Western) narrative tradition over living story emergence and more linear narrative. Narrative, with its focus on linear beginning, middle and end coherence, retrospection and monologic, is too easily appropriated into managerialist projects. We focus on the web of living stories as a Derridian deconstructive move, which allows us to say something important about their relation to narrative and to develop a storytelling ethics. Our thesis is that resituating the relationship between narrative (...) and living story invites exploration of the plurality of narratives that treat living stories as supplementary. We claim that this deconstructive move allows us to rethink politics and ethics anew. Storytelling ethics opens new spaces for marginalized other(s) voices and creates an awareness of our complicity and responsibility for others. Further, storytelling ethics allows for a more nuanced and varied understanding of business ethics and its inherent exclusionary truth and morality claims and paves the way for a more reflexive ethics. (shrink)
The question of U.S. divestment of South African assets can be segmented into two major issues: (1) corporate behavior in a general sense and (2) nature of the product produced. The first issue has four sub-issues: (1) Is apartheid immoral? (2) Do corporations have any social responsibility? (3) Do the rights of South African blacks concerning the issue of apartheid outweigh those of the corporations to do business freely? (4) Are the benefits to blacks greater with divestment than without? The (...) term benefits is then defined in both macro and micro dimensions.A NO answer to any one of the several questions would lead to the conclusion that there is no moral obligation for U.S. firms presently in South Africa to divest. (shrink)