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Kenneth Silver
Trinity College, Dublin
  1. Group Action Without Group Minds.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can avoid this debate. (...)
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  2.  79
    Can a Corporation Be Worthy of Moral Consideration?Kenneth Silver - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 159 (1):253-265.
    Much has been written about what corporations owe society and whether it is appropriate to hold them responsible. In contrast, little has been written about whether anything is owed to corporations apart from what is owed to their members. And when this question has been addressed, the answer has always been that corporations are not worthy of any distinct moral consideration. This is even claimed by proponents of corporate agency. In this paper, I argue that proponents of corporate agency should (...)
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  3.  74
    Omissions as Events and Actions.Kenneth Silver - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (1):33-48.
    We take ourselves to be able to omit to perform certain actions and to be at times responsible for these omissions. Moreover, omissions seem to have effects and to be manifestations of our agency. So, it is natural to think that omissions must be events. However, very few people writing on this topic have been willing to argue that omissions are events. Such a view is taken to face three significant challenges: (i) omissions are thought to be somehow problematically negative, (...)
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  4.  46
    Habitual Weakness.Kenneth Silver - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (4):270-277.
    The standard case of weakness of will involves a strong temptation leading us to reconsider or act against our judgments. Here, however, I consider cases of what I call ‘habitual weakness', where we resolve to do one thing yet do another not to satisfy any grand desire, but out of habit. After giving several examples, I suggest that habitual weakness has been under-discussed in the literature and explore why. These cases are worth highlighting for their ubiquity, and I show three (...)
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  5.  84
    Causal Exclusion and Ontic Vagueness.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    The Causal Exclusion Problem is raised in many domains, including in the metaphysics of macroscopic objects. If there is a complete explanation of macroscopic effects in terms of the microscopic entities that compose macroscopic objects, then the efficacy of the macroscopic will be threatened with exclusion. I argue that we can avoid the problem if we accept that macroscopic objects are ontically vague. Then, it is indeterminate which collection of microscopic entities compose them, and so information about microscopic entities is (...)
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  6.  50
    The Vague Time of a Killing.Kenneth Silver - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1383-1400.
    The problem of the time of a killing concerns exactly when and where to locate our actions. It is a problem for many of our actions beyond killing, and there are versions of the problem that can be raised no matter where your theory locates actions in particular. To answer the problem, I claim that we should be guided to the referent of ‘the killing’ by examining the definition of ‘to kill.’ Once we have the correct definition, we can see (...)
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  7.  31
    Do I Think Corporations Should Be Able to Vote Now?Kenneth Silver - 2018 - Business Ethics Journal Review 6 (4):18-23.
    Many proponents of corporate agency take corporations to be responsible for their conduct, but few take them to merit rights over and above the rights of their members. Hasnas (2016) argues that, given a widely-held view of liberal political theory, corporate agency entails that corporations should have the right to vote. In response, I show that there are problems in appealing to liberal political theory, and that the view of voting Hasnas actually endorses need not be accepted. Should it be, (...)
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  8. Wronging by Requesting.N. G. Laskowski & Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - In Mark C. Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 11. Oxford:
    Upon doing something generous for someone with whom you are close, some kind of reciprocity may be appropriate. But it often seems wrong to actually request reciprocity. This chapter explores the wrongness in making these requests, and why they can nevertheless appear appropriate. After considering several explanations for the wrongness at issue (involving, e.g. distinguishing oughts from obligation, the suberogatory, imperfect duties, and gift-giving norms), a novel proposal is advanced. The requests are disrespectful; they express that their agent insufficiently trusts (...)
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  9.  32
    Avoiding Late Preemption with the Right Kind of Influence.Kenneth Silver - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1297-1312.
    David Lewis championed a counterfactual account of causation, but counterfactual accounts have a notoriously difficult time handling cases of late preemption. These are cases in which we still count one event as the cause of another although the effect does not depend on the cause in the way taken to be necessary by the account. Lewis recognized these cases, but they have been shown to be problematic even for his final analysis of causation, the Influence Account. In this paper, I (...)
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  10.  92
    Emergence Within Social Systems.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Emergence is typically discussed in the context of mental properties or the properties of the natural sciences, and accounts of emergence within these contexts tend to look a certain way. The emergent property is taken to emerge instantaneously out of, or to be proximately caused by, complex interaction of colocated entities. Here, I focus on the properties instantiated by the elements of certain systems discussed in social ontology, such as being a five-dollar bill or a pawn-movement, and I suggest that (...)
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  11.  30
    Modern Portfolio Theory and Shareholder Primacy.Kenneth Silver - 2019 - Business Ethics Journal Review 7 (6):34-39.
    Shareholders assume risk by investing. Sollars and Tuluca (2018) argue that while this does not justify a managerial policy of shareholder wealth maximization, it does justify compensating shareholders at the oftencalculated cost of equity—the cost that investors require given the level of risk they assume. Here, I show that this can be unfair if the cost of equity is unfair. I then show how shareholder wealth maximization as a managerial imperative is better justified on other grounds.
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  12.  35
    Markets Within the Limit of Feasibility.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics:1-15.
    The ‘limits of markets’ debate broadly concerns the question of when it is (im)permissible to have a market in some good. Markets can be of tremendous benefit to society, but many have felt that certain goods should not be for sale (e.g., sex, kidneys, bombs). Their sale is argued to be corrupting, exploitative, or to express a form of disrespect. In Markets without Limits, Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski have recently argued to the contrary: For any good, as long as (...)
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  13.  23
    Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility, by Randolph Clarke.Kenneth Silver - 2015 - Mind 124 (496):1264-1268.
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  14.  75
    Strategy (Part I): Conceptual Foundations.Kenneth Silver - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (1):e12717.
    Strategies are mentioned across a variety of domains, from business ethics, to the philosophy of war, philosophy of sport, game theory, and others. However, despite their wide use, very little has been said about how to think about what strategies are or how they relate to other prominently discussed concepts. In this article, I probe the close connection between strategies and plans, which have been much more thoroughly characterized in the philosophy of action. After highlighting the challenges of analyzing strategies (...)
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