This paper examines how it is possible for firms in controversial sectors, which are often marked by social taboos and moral debates, to act in socially responsible ways, and whether a firm can be socially responsible if it produces products harmful to society or individuals. It contends that a utilitarian justification can be used to support the legal and regulated provision of goods and services in these areas, and the regulated and legal provision of these areas produces less harm than (...) the real alternative—illegal and unregulated supply. Utilitarianism is concerned as much with harm minimisation as good maximisation, and both are equally important when it comes to maximising welfare (Bentham 1789, 1970; Mill  1964). Any adequate theory of CSR must, therefore, have the capacity to handle a business that minimises harm as well as those that more straightforwardly maximise good. In this paper we therefore attempt two tasks. First, we argue that the legal but regulated provision of products and services may be better from an overall utilitarian perspective than a situation in which these harmful or immoral goods and services are illegal but procurable via a black market. Porter and Kramer’s (2006) strategic CSR framework is then presented to describe how firms in these controversial sectors can act in socially responsible ways. This model highlights the importance of firm strategy in selecting areas of socially responsible behaviours that can be acted upon by firms in each industry. (shrink)
The Australian Productivity Commission and a Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform have recommended implementation of a mandatory pre-commitment system for electronic gambling. Organizations associated with the gambling industry have protested that such interventions reduce individual rights, and will cause a reduction in revenue which will cost jobs and reduce gaming venue support for local communities. This article is not concerned with the design details or the evidence base of the proposed scheme, but rather with the fundamental criticism that a (...) mandatory pre-commitment policy is an unacceptable interference with the liberty of the individual, and of organizations. It is argued that the concept of paternalism is a useful lens with which to study the interactions between business and society on this issue. It is contended that the benefits of a pre-commitment system to problem gamblers and society are socially and economically significant, and the cost to recreational gamblers, particularly the cost in terms of interference with the liberty of the individual, is minimal. Pre-commitment also requires gambling businesses to act in a more socially responsible manner. It is concluded that the proposed legislation constitutes a paternalistic intervention by government on the interaction between business and society, and that this is justified. (shrink)
There are questions about how ethics is best taught to undergraduate business students. There has been a proliferation in the number of stand-alone ethics courses for undergraduate students but research on the effectiveness of integrated versus stand-alone mode of delivery is inconclusive. Christensen et al. :347–368, 2007), in a comprehensive review of ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability education, investigated how ethics education has changed over the last 20 years, including the issue of integration of these topics into the core (...) course offerings. We use Brenner and Molander’s :57–71, 1977) situational ethics survey instrument to examine the effect of the mode of delivery of business ethics education on undergraduate student responses. We found a significant difference on mode of delivery. Studies have also found interesting results in respect of the effect of cultural differences and gender on the effectiveness of business ethics instruction. While not the primary focus of this study, we also looked at the influence of gender and culture on students’ responses. Our results indicate significant differences in respect of mode of delivery and culture. In contrast to other studies, we found that gender was not significant. We did test for any interactive effects of gender, culture and mode of delivery. However, no significant differences were found. (shrink)
That the central thesis of Donald Davidson’s classic article on metaphor “What Metaphor Means” (WMM) is ambiguous between a weak and a strong interpretation is the primary claim that I sought to establish in my article “Sentence Meaning, Speaker Meaning, and Davidson’s Denial of Metaphorical Meaning.” In addition to this, I argued that the weak claim is trivially true and the strong claim is obviously false. Therefore, I concluded that when the central thesis of WMM is disambiguated, it is insignificant. (...) Finally, I explained the ambiguity in that thesis in terms of Davidson’s neglect in WMM for the concept of speaker meaning and this, in turn, in terms of a certain theoretical orientation to language that Davidson held at the time of writing WMM. In his commentary on my article, “Speaker Meaning and Davidson on Metaphor: A Reply to McGuire,” Robert J. Stainton raises objections to several of the foregoing claims. In this article, I review and defend each of these claims against Stainton’s objections. (shrink)
In _Cynical Suspicions and Platonist Pretentions_, John McGuire conducts a critical analysis of contemporary political theory with a view to facilitating a less reductive understanding of political disaffection.
Twentieth-century political philosopher Eric Voegelin is best known as a severe critic of modernity. Much of his work argues that modernity is a Gnostic revolt against the fundamental structure of reality. For Voegelin, “Gnosticism” is the belief that human beings can transform the nature of reality through secret knowledge and social action, and he considered it the crux of the crisis of modernity. As Voegelin struggled with this crisis throughout his career, he never wavered in his judgment that philosophers of (...) the modern continental tradition were complicit in the Gnostic revolt of modernity. But while Voegelin’s analysis of those philosophers is at times scathing, his work also bears marks of their influence, and Voegelin has much more in common with the theorists of the modern continental tradition than is usually recognized. _Eric Voegelin and the Continental Tradition: Explorations in Modern Political Thought _evaluates this political philosopher—one of the most original and influential thinkers of our time—by examining his relationship to the modern continental tradition in philosophy, from Kant to Derrida. In a compelling introduction, editors Lee Trepanier and Steven F. McGuire present a review of the trajectories of Voegelin’s thought and outline what often is portrayed as his derisive critique of modernity. Soon, however, they begin to unravel the similarities between Voegelin’s thought and the work of other thinkers in the continental tradition. The subsequent chapters explore these possible connections by examining Voegelin’s intellectual relationship to individual thinkers, including Hegel, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Gadamer. The essays in this volume go beyond Voegelin’s own reading of the modern philosophers to offer a reevaluation of his relationship to those thinkers. In _Eric Voegelin and the Continental Tradition_, Voegelin’s attempt to grapple with the crisis of modernity becomes clearer, and his contribution to the modern continental tradition is illuminated. The book features the work of both established and emerging Voegelin scholars, and the essays were chosen to present thoughtful and balanced assessments of both Voegelin’s thought and the ideas of the other thinkers considered. As the first volume to examine the relationship—and surprising commonalities—between Voegelin’s philosophy and the continental tradition as a whole, this text will be of interest not only to Voegelin disciples but to philosophers engaged by continental modernism and all disciplines of political philosophy. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between CEO incentives and strong and weak corporate social performance. Using the KLD database we find that incentives have no significant relationship with strong social performance. Salary and long-term incentives have a positive association with weak social performance.
Purpose: This study explores social networkers' interest in and attitudes toward personal genome testing (PGT), focusing on expectations related to the clinical integration of PGT results. Methods: An online survey of 1,087 social networking users was conducted to assess 1) use and interest in PGT; 2) attitudes toward PGT companies and test results; and 3) expectations for the clinical integration of PGT. Descriptive statistics were calculated to summarize respondents' characteristics and responses. Results: Six percent of respondents have used PGT, 64% (...) would consider using PGT, and 30% would not use PGT. Of those who would consider using PGT, 74% report they would use it to gain knowledge about disease in their family. 34% of all respondents consider the information obtained from PGT to be a medical diagnosis. 78% of those who would consider PGT would ask their physician for help interpreting test results, and 61% of all respondents believe physicians have a professional obligation to help individuals interpret PGT results. Conclusion: Respondents express interest in using PGT services, primarily for purposes related to their medical care and expect physicians to help interpret PGT results. Physicians should therefore be prepared for patient demands for information and counsel on the basis of PGT results. (shrink)
: This article is concerned with Newton's appropriation of Descartes' ontology of true and immutable natures in developing his theory of infinitely extended space. It contends that unless the part played by the Platonic distinction between "being a nature" and "having a nature" in Newton's thinking is properly appreciated the foundation of his doctrine of space in relation to God will not be fully understood. It also contends that Newton's Platonism is consistent with his empiricism once the mediating role is (...) made clear that the geometry of moving loci play in grounding his intuitions concerning infinite natures. (shrink)
This paper problematizes contemporary cultural understandings of autism. We make use of the developmental psychology concepts of ‘Theory of Mind’ and ‘mindblindness’ to uncover the meaning of autism as expressed in these concepts. Our concern is that autism is depicted as a puzzle and that this depiction governs not only the way Western culture treats autism but also the way in which it governs everyday interactions with autistic people. Moreover, we show how the concepts of Theory of Mind and mindblindness (...) require autism to be a puzzle in the first place. Rather than treat autism as a puzzle that must be solved, we treat autism as a teacher and thus as having something valuable to contribute toward an understanding of the inherent partiality and uncertainty of human communication and collective life. (shrink)
Background Continued advances in human microbiome research and technologies raise a number of ethical, legal, and social challenges. These challenges are associated not only with the conduct of the research, but also with broader implications, such as the production and distribution of commercial products promising maintenance or restoration of good physical health and disease prevention. In this article, we document several ethical, legal, and social challenges associated with the commercialization of human microbiome research, focusing particularly on how this research is (...) mobilized within economic markets for new public health uses. Methods We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews (2009–2010) with 63 scientists, researchers, and National Institutes of Health project leaders (“investigators”) involved with human microbiome research. Interviews explored a range of ethical, legal, and social dimensions of human microbiome research, including investigators’ perspectives on commercialization. Using thematic content analysis, we identified and analyzed emergent themes and patterns. Results Investigators discussed the commercialization of human microbiome research in terms of (1) commercialization, probiotics, and issues of safety, (2) public awareness of the benefits and risks of dietary supplements, and (3) regulation. Conclusion The prevailing theme of ethical, legal, social concern focused on the need to find a balance between the marketplace, scientific research, and the public’s health. The themes we identified are intended to serve as points for discussions about the relationship between scientific research and the manufacture and distribution of over-the-counter dietary supplements in the United States. (shrink)
Isaac Newton wrote the manuscript Questiones quaedam philosophicae at the very beginning of his scientific career. This small notebook thus affords rare insight into the beginnings of Newton's thought and the foundations of his subsequent intellectual development. The Questiones contains a series of entries in Newton's hand that range over many topics in science, philosophy, psychology, theology, and the foundations of mathematics. These notes, written in English, provide a very detailed picture of Newton's early interests, and record his critical appraisal (...) of contemporary issues in natural philosophy. Written predominantly in 1664-5, they give a significant perspective on Newton's thought just prior to his annus mirabilis, 1666. This volume provides a complete transcription of the Questiones, together with an 'expansion' into modern English, and a full editorial commentary on the content and significance of the notebook in the development of Newton's thought. It will be essential reading for all those interested in Newton and the intellectual foundations of science. (shrink)
We argue that Isaac Newton really is best understood as being in the tradition of the Mechanical Philosophy and, further, that Newton saw himself as being in this tradition. But the tradition as Newton understands it is not that of Robert Boyle and many others, for whom the Mechanical Philosophy was defined by contact action and a corpuscularean theory of matter. Instead, as we argue in this paper, Newton interpreted and extended the Mechanical Philosophy's slogan “matter and motion” in reference (...) to the long and distinguished tradition of mixed mathematics and the study of simple machines. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ: Cet article concerne le rejet controversé de la notion de signification métaphorique par Donald Davidson. Il a deux objectifs: d’abord, de montrer que l’argument de Davidson contre la signification métaphorique est vicié par une ambiguïté qui, une fois révélée, lui ôte toute portée; et deuxièmement, d’expliquer d’où vient cette ambiguïté. L’explication proposée rapporte l’erreur de Davidson au sujet de la signification métaphorique à sa négligence de la notion de signification du locuteur et, plus généralement, à une orientation théorique envers (...) le langage, qui ne s’intéresse, principalement, qu’aux aspects de la communication qui peuvent recevoir un traitement sémantique formel. (shrink)
What is the relation between acting intentionally and acting for a reason? While this question has generated a considerable amount of debate in the philosophy of action, on one point there has been a virtual consensus: actions performed for a reason are necessarily intentional. Recently, this consensus has been challenged by Joshua Knobe and Sean Kelly, who argue against it on the basis of empirical evidence concerning the ways in which ordinary speakers of the English language describe and explain certain (...) side-effect actions. Knobe and Kelly's argument is of interest not only because it challenges a widely accepted philosophical thesis on the basis of experimental evidence, but also because it indirectly raises an important and largely neglected question, the question of whether or in what sense an agent can perform a side-effect action for a reason. In this article, I address this question and provide a positive answer to it. Specifically, I argue that agents act for a reason whenever they perform side-effect actions as trade-offs. Thus, I claim that there are three distinct types of rational action: actions performed as ends in themselves, actions performed as means to further ends, and side-effect actions performed as trade-offs. Given this multiplicity of types of rational action, the question of whether or not actions performed for a reason are necessarily intentional is in need of refinement. The more specific question that lies at the heart of this article is whether or not side-effect actions performed as trade-offs are necessarily intentional. I conclude that, contrary to what Knobe and Kelly suggest, the question remains open. (shrink)
This paper offers a detailed account of arguments in De Caelo I by which Aristotle tried to demonstrate the necessity of the perpetual existence and the perpetual rotation of the cosmos. On our interpretation, Aristotle’s arguments are naturalistic. Instead of being based (as many have thought) on rules of logic and language, they depend, we argue, on natural science theories about abilities (δυνάμεις), e.g., to move and to change, which things have by nature and about the conditions under which these (...) abilities can be exercised. Our interpretation locates the De Caelo arguments in the context of some central doctrines of the Organon, the Metaphysics, the Physics, and other texts. The De Caelo arguments fit a number of views developed in these texts. Aristotle’s treatments of local motion, of natural motion and change, of necessity and possibility, and of abilities and their exercises are examples. But, as we interpret them, the De Caelo arguments raise serious questions about the role of (and the need for) Metaphysics A’s soulful Unmoved Mover in Aristotle’s overall natural-scientific picture. (shrink)
In this paper I show that two conflicting theories of literal meaning can be found in Donald Davidson's philosophy of language. In his earlier writings, Davidson espoused the common sense idea that words have literal meanings independently of particular contexts of use. In his later writings, however, Davidson insisted that the literal meaning of a word is a function of the speaker's intentions in using it, from which it follows that words do not have literal meanings independently of particular contexts. (...) In this paper I examine and evaluate the transition from Davidson's earlier to his later view of literal meaning. I show that the change in view came about through Davidson's efforts to extend a theory of literal meaning to malapropisms but that Davidson's understanding of malapropisms is seriously flawed. I conclude that Davidson had no good reason for espousing his later intentions-based theory of literal meaning. (shrink)
In 1978 Donald Davidson published an article entitled “What Metaphors Mean” (WMM), in which he championed the idea that “metaphors mean what the words, in their most literal interpretation, mean, and nothing more.” In 1986 Davidson published a somewhat related article entitled “ A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs” (NDE), in which he defended a unique and controversial theory of literal meaning according to which the literal meaning of an expression is determined by the speaker’s first intention in uttering it. Both (...) of these articles (WMM and NDE) have attracted a considerable amount of attention in the literature. However, the connection between these two articles has received much less attention, and those interested in Davidson’s philosophy of language have had to conjecture about whether the ideas expressed in WMM are consistent with those of NDE. The principal goal of this article is to clarify the connection between the main ideas expressed in those two articles. (shrink)
This article discusses some of the philosophical themes in the Hollywood film "The Truman Show." I argue that the film presents and interesting twist on the traditional philosophical problem of skepticism. Whereas Descartes' skeptical worries were based on the deceptive nature of sense perception, the source of illusion and skepticism in the Truman Show is the modern media system and "reality TV." This engaging film compels viewers to reflect upon the extent to which we are all ensnared in a world (...) of lies and deceit. (shrink)
In this essay, we discuss how Descartes arrives at his mature view of material causation. Descartes position changes over time in some very radical ways. The last section spells out his final position as to how causation works in the world of material objects. When considering Descartes causal theories, it is useful to distinguish between vertical and horizontal causation. The vertical perspective addresses Gods relation to creation. God is essential being, and every being other than God depends upon God in (...) order to exist and to continue in existence.Thus, from the vertical perspective, the act of creating and fact of coming into existence are co-extensive notions. This metaphysical/theological framework is the basis of Descartes commitment to three interrelated notions: that genuine causes and effects occur simultaneously; that causing is appropriately the case only when the cause is acting; and the view that God is the efficient, total, and continuous cause of everything that exists and every action that occurs. So from the vertical perspective, things are nothing without Gods continuous creation, and there is a problem in articulating how they are said to have independent being and causal efficacy. It is in terms of these commitments that Descartes views on horizontal, or material, causation must be approached. We will make apparent the radical extent to which his account of intra-worldly causation abandons his earlier and more traditional views about material causation. To this end we discuss Descartes journey to his mature position by emphasizing the growing epistemic limitations of his philosophy, which culminate in what we call his epistemic stance. (shrink)
The brain scanner is a piece of philosophical fiction made fact. It was among the most common creations of thought experiments, along with the brain-vat and the mindless robot. With the imaginary scanner, readings were taken of each other's brain activity, thereby learning everything about other minds, or very little, depending on the outcome of the thought experiment. The scanners that are now in use—those that allow us to do functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), for example—are a little different to (...) those imagined, perhaps, but they have very much arrived. They are in daily use in hundreds of laboratories, and for the past 15 years or so have been grabbing headlines the world over with breakthrough .. (shrink)
Pediatric psychopharmacology is a relatively new science. Although the use of psychotropic medications in children has risen in the past decade, there are few standard treatments for serious psychiatric or developmental disorders of childhood. The relative absence of standard treatments is further complicated by the fact that many of the agents used in pediatric psychopharmacology have been adapted from other fields. Therefore, investigators have a responsibility to make incremental progress from concept through pilot studies and large-scale, multisite efficacy and safety (...) trials. Thus, although there is a pressing need to conduct medication trials that can guide clinical practice, there are scientific and ethical considerations to bear in mind when designing clinical trials in pediatric psychopharmacology. This article reviews essential ethical and scientific issues that are relevant to designing clinical trials in children with psychiatric and developmental disorders. Using examples from recently published literature, the article describes the challenges and pitfalls of various clinical trial study designs. The application of sound ethical and scientific principles is necessary to ensure that clinical trials are properly conducted and to guard against ambiguous results that can not guide practice. (shrink)
The growing number of older adults in America will result in an increasing demand for psychotherapists familiar with their psychological needs. To treat this population in an ethical manner, practitioners need to be aware of the unique characteristics of the aging process, especially in regards to age-related vulnerabilities, such as cognitive decline. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that those currently in practice do not have sufficient knowledge of the aging process and age specific issues of older adults. To address these (...) deficits the American Psychological Association published a report outlining six general concepts: attitudes, general knowledge about adult development, clinical issues, assessment, intervention, and education. These concepts are described. Furthermore, this article extends the current thinking on ethical issues regarding older adults by addressing their vulnerabilities. In addition, ethical issues such as informed consent, confidentiality, and elder abuse are addressed as they apply to both clinical and research situations. In addition, methods of resolving these important issues are suggested throughout the article. A depiction of the ethical issues of psychologists working with older adults is provided and practical procedures to help psychologists perform with high ethical standards of care for this age group are offered. (shrink)
This is a response to two reviews of our book "Science Unfettered: A Philosophical Study of Sociohistorical Ontology." We clarify the relationship between the ontological and the ontic, the key phrases: 'being-in-the-world,' the 'facticity' of human existence. We show where the sources of reviewers misunderstandings lie.