Alain Finkelkraut has interrogated contemporary Jewish identity in terms of how a Jew reckons with the heavy impact of the Holocaust and in fact with the entire history of the Jewish people. Finkelkraut takes issue with Sartre's 1947 essay, Anti-Semite and Jew, not for its content but the effect that it has had on him. "Let there be no misunderstanding: I am not attacking the book that Sartre wrote on the Jewish problem," asserts the author in a footnote (JI 17, (...) my translation). Instead, he shows how the philosopher aids in the creation of what Finkelkraut terms "the imaginary Jew." He compares this process of fossilization to Genet's treatment in Saint Genet. Finkelkraut's metaphoric language captures the pernicious effects that the public act of naming and thus essentializing can have on a person or group of people. (shrink)
Readers of Sartre's biographies often have the impression that they reveal more about Sartre than about Baudelaire, Flaubert or Genet. The reason for this is our awareness of Sartre's philosophy which serves as an explicit paradigm for the construction and explicitation of his literary and his biographical works. We speak of a Sartrean play, a Sartrean biography, because they lay bare not only characteristic features of the genre but also of the author and this also is true of a Hegelian (...) or Marxist history or a Freudian psychology. These writers have all invented their own paradigms and if one decides to use their paradigm one is considered a Hegelian, Marxist or Sartrean follower. These followers are judged by some to have been persuaded by a vision, a way of seeing, a style. (shrink)
The results of an exploratory study examining the role of trust in stakeholder satisfaction are reported. Customers, stockholders, and employees of financial institutions were surveyed to identify management behaviors that lead to stakeholder satisfaction. The factors critical to satisfaction across stakeholder groups are the timeliness of communication, the honesty and completeness of the information and the empathy and equity of treatment by management.
Few sports-related events have generated as much controversy as the steroid crisis in baseball. Both ardent fans and casual observers wonder why professional baseball players would choose to use such substances when their use was viewed as outside the bounds of fair play. This article attempts to answer that question by applying concepts from the area of organizational culture. Understanding the culture of baseball and the ways leaders embedded and strengthened that culture adds insight into the decisions by athletes to (...) engage in steroid use. In general, such use was consistent with the already-existing culture. In addition, key decisions and events likely created the conditions in which steroid use was more likely. (shrink)
Contemporary analytical philosophy has not provided historians with an adequate account of their causal reasoning. Attempts to apply the laws of scientific explanation to history have occasioned an artificial split between historical interpretation and historical explanation. The lawlike generalizations of the natural sciences are both perfectly universal and perfectly delimited, whereas the typical generalizations of the historian are imperfectly universal and imperfectly delimited. In historical analysis, a particular development is hypothetically posited as the ordinary course of events, or as the (...) established "trend," and an intervening process or set of conditions is identified as the cause of some alteration in the expected outcome. It is important to differentiate between historical events and the actions of historical figures. The analysis of historical actions requires attention to a second layer of interpretation, that of intention. In a good narrative, everything "important" for the actual outcome will be clearly displayed and cogently ordered in a network of interacting causal sequences; for that is what the historian means when he proposes to "tell the whole story.". (shrink)
Max Weber's methodological writings offered a model of singular causal analysis that anticipated key elements of contemporary Anglo-American philosophy of the social and cultural sciences. The model accurately portrayed crucial steps and dimensions of causal reasoning in these disciplines, outlining a dynamic and probabilistic conception of historical processes, counterfactual reasoning, and comparison as a substitute for counterfactual argument. Above all, Weber recognized the interpretation of human actions as a subcategory of causal analysis, in which the agents' visions of desired outcomes, (...) together with their beliefs about how to bring them about, cause them to act as they do. (shrink)
Euripides and the Boundaries of the Human offers the first single-volume detailed reading of the nineteen canonical Euripidean plays in nearly fifty years. The dramas are examined not only in their diversity but also for the themes and ideas that bind them together as the work of a single remarkable playwright.
The genre of public service advertisements that appear with two- and four-year cyclical regularity is familiar. Cameras pan across scenes of marines hoisting the flag on Iwo Jima, a bald eagle soaring in splendid flight, rows of grave markers at Arlington. The somber-voiced announcer remonstrates: “ They did their part; now you do yours.” Once again it is the season to fulfill one's civic duty, to vote.
Despite what one may be led to believe by breathless reports in the media, the acme of misery in America is not the woes, financial and otherwise, of Donald Trump and Michael Jackson. People lose their jobs, have their assets drained by reversals of fortune, suffer from illiteracy, malnutrition, lack of shelter, and other mishaps. The circumstances in which they find themselves are genuinely distressing. It would be an odd understanding indeed that failed to find these circumstances directly relevant to (...) what morality asks of us. If morality is to count for anything, then surely it must take notice of exigent need. This is not merely the deliverance of a late twentieth-century Western moral consciousness massaged by the blessings of comparative affluence and graced with a newfound awareness of social justice. All traditional ethical codes of which I am aware, sacred and secular, demand that one take the distress of one's neighbor as bearing on one's own activities. “Am I my brother's keeper?” is the question; the well-nigh universal answer is “ Yes .” The disposition to be moved by and respond to distress is the virtue of charity. (shrink)
Contract is the dominant model for political philosophy's understanding of government grounded on the consent of the governed. However, there are at least five disabilities attached to classical social contract theory: the grounding contract never actually occurred; its provisions are vague and contestable; the stringency of the obligation thereby established is dubious; trans-generational consent is questionable; interpretive methods for giving effect to the contract are ill-specified. By contrast, the biblical story of the covenant Israel embraces at Sinai is shown to (...) be more adequately attentive to each of these five desiderata. The essay then focuses on the U.S. Constitution, arguing that in many ways it is more reflective of covenantal legitimating themes than those of social contract. The result is a promisingly different mode of understanding government by the consent of the governed. (shrink)
In this essay I wish to consider the implications for theory and practice of the following two propositions, either or both of which may be controversial, but which will here be assumed for the sake of argument: Libertarianism is the correct framework for political morality. The vast majority of our fellow citizens disbelieve. 1.
The financial Crunch of 2008 was easily explained by both the left and right–too easily. Each insisted that events thoroughly confirmed its own long-held views and utterly refuted those of the opposed camp. This essay argues that there are indeed new lessons to be drawn from the Crunch, lessons that involve balancing the bounty of the Invisible Hand against perils of the Prisoner's Dilemma. Liberal moral imperatives are traced to variables of Personal Choice and External Cost that are typically in (...) tension with each other and thus generate needs for institutional reconstructions that change according to time and circumstance. Personal bankruptcy protection, limited liability corporations, and intellectual property are cited as examples. It is argued that the Crunch occurred because of failure adequately to balance these variables. Three paradoxes came to a head in 2008: Paradox of Efficient Markets; Paradox of Reduced Risk; Paradox of Hard-won Knowledge. The essay concludes with suggestions concerning specific lessons to be drawn from the Crunch and a corresponding list of lessons not to be drawn. (shrink)
A small puzzle: the terms ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism’ initially present themselves as contraries, the one affirming what the other rejects. However, once removed from the dictionary, they function otherwise. The theory of capitalism is very much contained within the science of economics. The positive theory of capitalistic institutions, but also its normative superstructure, rest most easily within the language and methodology of the economist. What distinguishes the free market? It is efficient ; allocation of factors of production are optimized ; (...) individuals maximize their utility ; and so on. These are the terms with which justifications of capitalistic production typically begin – begin, and often end. (shrink)
Individuals care deeply about with whom they associate and on what terms. A liberty to avoid entanglement in the disfavored designs of others is counterposed by an entitlement not to be excluded from valued modes of activity. These interests generate not one but two freedoms of association, the former negative and the latter positive. Often they conflict. This essay begins by setting out several respects in which negative free association is crucial to a liberal order and then examines several pleas (...) for positive association, at least one of which is judged to be compelling. Because the two freedoms of association are in conspicuous tension, the essay concludes with strategies for reconciling their competing claims. (shrink)