Gödel’s incompleteness applies to any system with recursively enumerable axioms and rules of inference. Chaitin’s approach to Gödel’s incompleteness relates the incompleteness to the amount of information contained in the axioms. Zurek’s quantum Darwinism attempts the physical description of the universe using information as one of its major components. The capacity of quantum Darwinism to describe quantum measurement in great detail without requiring ad-hoc non-unitary evolution makes it a good candidate for describing the transition from quantum to classical. A baby-universe (...) diffusion model of cosmic inflation is analyzed using quantum Darwinism. In this model cosmic inflation can be approximated as Brownian motion of a quantum field, and quantum Darwinism implies that molecular interaction during Brownian motion will make the quantum field decohere. The quantum Darwinism approach to decoherence in the baby-universe cosmic-inflation model yields the decoherence times of the baby-universes. The result is the equation relating the baby-universe’s decoherence time with the Hubble parameter, and that the decoherence time is considerably shorter than the cosmic inflation period. (shrink)
One of the reasons why Kantian contractualism has been seen as an appealing alternative to utilitarianism is that it seems to be able to avoid utilitarianism's extreme demandingness, while retaining a fully impartial moral point of view. I argue that in the current state of the world, contractualist obligations to help those in need are not significantly less demanding than utilitarian obligations. I also argue that while a plausible version of utilitarianism would be considerably less demanding if the state of (...) the world were different, a central aspect of contractualism means that it would remain exceedingly demanding in any practically realizable state of the world. (shrink)
Is moral theory alienating? This question, and the worries that lie behind it, motivate much of Lori Gruen's distinctive approach to animal ethics in Entangled Empathy. According to Gruen, the “traditional” methods of moral theory rely on abstractions that strip away the details that give our lives meaning. Although I am deeply sympathetic to these worries, as well as to the alternative ethics Gruen proposes in response to them, in this article I express a few reservations about the argument (...) Gruen uses to motivate her worries and to establish her solution. First, I raise some questions about her conception of “traditional” moral theory and the possible historical figures she means to indict. I then suggest that the principal gear of her argument—her conception of “entangled empathy”—suffers from some inconsistency in application, which risks leading her to posit a thicker notion of empathy than she should want. In particular, her argument risks setting a standard of correctness for “successful” empathy that is implausible on its own terms, but that is also a standard of correctness with morally and politically questionable implications in the human context. (shrink)
Justin D'Arms says that moral disapproval is more closely tied to anger than to the “empathic chill” effect I emphasized in Moral Sentimentalism, but I argue that anger is in several ways inappropriate or unsatisfactory as a basis for understanding disapproval. I go on to explain briefly why I think we need not share D'Arms's worries about the possibility of nonveridical empathy but then focus on what he says about the reference-fixing theory of moral terminology defended in Moral Sentimentalism. I (...) explain why I think his interpretations of my view—both at the Spindel Conference and subsequently—misunderstand the (Kripkean) character of that view. My reply to Lori Watson questions whether her criticisms of Moral Sentimentalism's account of morality are sufficiently sensitive to the self−other asymmetry that typifies so much of ordinary moral thinking. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a dramatically expanding area of activity for managers and academics. Consumer demand for responsibly produced and fair trade goods is swelling, resulting in increased demands for CSR activity and information. Assets under professional management and invested with a social responsibility focus have also grown dramatically over the last 10 years. Investors choosing social responsibility investment strategies require access to information not provided through traditional financial statements and analyses. At the same time, a group of mainstream (...) institutional investors has encouraged a movement to incorporate environmental, social, and governance information into equity analysis, and multi-stakeholder groups have supported enhanced business reporting on these issues. The majority of research in this area has been performed on European and Australian firms. We expand on this literature by exploring the CSR disclosure practices of a size-and industry-stratified sample of 50 publicly traded U. S. firms, performing a content analysis on the complete identifiable public information portfolio provided by these firms during 2004. CSR activity was disclosed by most firms in the sample, and was included in nearly half of public disclosures made during that year by the sample firms. Areas of particular emphasis are community matters, health and safety, diversity and human resources (HR) matters, and environmental programs. The primary venues of disclosure are mass media releases such as corporate websites and press releases, followed closely by disclosures contained in mandatory filings. Consistent with prior research, we identify industry effects in terms of content, emphasis, and reporting format choices. Unlike prior research, we can offer only mixed evidence on the existence of a size effect. The disclosure frequency and emphasis is significantly different for the largest one-fifth of the firms, but no identifiable trends are present within the rest of the sample. There are, however, identifiable size effects with respect to reporting format choice. Use of websites is positively related to firm size, while the use of mandatory filings is negatively related to firm size. Finally, and also consistent with prior literature, we document a generally self-laudatory tone in the content of CSR disclosures for the sample firms. (shrink)
Recent years have featured a spate of regulatory action pertaining to the development and/or disclosure of corporate governance structures in response to financial scandals resulting in part from governance failures. During the same period, corporate governance activists and institutional investors increasingly have called for increased voluntary governance disclosure. Despite this attention, there have been relatively few comprehensive studies of governance disclosure practices and response to the regulation. In this study, we examine a sample of 50 U.S. firms and their public (...) disclosure packages from 2004. We find a high degree of variability in the presentation and reporting format choices for many elements of the governance structure. This variability includes several items for which disclosure is mandated by regulators or legislative action. In particular, smaller firms offer fewer disclosures pertaining to independence, board selection procedures, and oversight of management (including whistleblowing procedures). There are also trends associated with board characteristics: boards that are less independent offer fewer disclosures of independence and management oversight matters. Moreover, large firms provide more disclosures of independence standards, board selection procedures, audit committee matters, management control systems, other committee matters, and whistleblowing procedures but do not appear to have a strictly superior information environment when compared to smaller firms. The findings raise questions about compliance with regulatory requirements and the degree to which conflicts of interest between managers and directors are being controlled. While there have been notable improvements in the information environment of governance disclosures, there remain structural issues that may possess negative ramifications for stakeholders. (shrink)
The problem of providing mandated medical care has become commonplace as correctional systems in the United States struggle to manage unprecedented increases in its aging prison population. This study explores older incarcerated women’s perceptions of prison health care policies and their day-to-day survival experiences. Aggregate data obtained from a sample of 327 older women residing in prison facilities in five Southern states were used to identify a baseline of health conditions and needs for this vulnerable group. With an average of (...) 4.2 chronic health conditions, frequently histories of victimization, and high rates of mental health issues, the women’s experiences of negotiating health care was particularly challenging. By incorporating the voices of older women, we expose the contradictions, dilemmas, and obstacles they experience in their attempts to obtain health care. It is clear from the personal accounts shared that, despite court mandates, penal harm practices such as delaying or denying medical treatment as well as occasional staff indifferences are common in women’s prisons. With older women having the greatest need for health care, an age- and gender-sensitive approach is recommended. (shrink)
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s notion of becoming-animal offers a mode of interaction that goes beyond the symbolic language and conceptual thought that are often used in the western philosophical tradition to circumscribe the limits and define the nature of an ethical engagement. They fail, however, to provide a robust account of how becoming may yield an ethical exchange between the human being and the animal other. In order for this process to generate such an outcome, it must be accompanied (...) by commitment to and care for the animal. Primatologist Barbara Smuts brings this becoming to the flesh in ways that enable a committed, caring and collaborative ethical interaction between species. (shrink)
I present two challenges to the theory of moral sentimentalism that Michael Slote defends in his book. The first challenge aims to show that there are cases in which we empathize with an agent and yet judge her actions to be morally wrong. If such cases are plausible, then we have good reason to doubt Slote's claim that moral judgments are an affective attitude of warmth or chill and, thus, are purely sentiments. The second challenge is more of a suggestion. (...) At the end of my paper, I suggest that perhaps one important role that empathy plays in our moral phenomenology is to mitigate the scope of our moral judgments. If this is right, it tells not only against Slote's account but against moral sentimentalist approaches more broadly. (shrink)
While political and ethical philosophers today are familiar with critiques of confinement in both critical prison studies and critical animal studies, The Ethics of Captivity is unusual in that it brings these critiques of incarceration together, bridging human and nonhuman animal liberation movements. While Lisa Guenther’s recent book, Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives, also critiques the mass incarceration of both human and nonhuman animals, it is far more common to see human and animal liberation movements opposed on this (...) issue, as when the incarceration of humans is deplored for treating those individuals like animals. As Guenther argues, however, this humanistic language is... (shrink)
This essay explores four aspects of Gruen's theory. The first section considers her analysis of the concepts of sympathy, pity, and emotional contagion. The second section outlines the main features of her conception of empathy and highlights some worries about empathy that her theory addresses. The third section examines empathy's contributions to moral epistemology. The fourth section queries Gruen's contention that empathy is morally motivating.
I have been teaching an undergraduate course called “Ethics and Animals” for almost a decade now. It counts as a core course for the ethics certificate at my university, and is housed in my home department, Women’s Studies, so there is some presumption of feminist or progressive content. I have the syllabi from all these years laid out in front of me on my desk. What strikes me immediately is that the turnover of the reading list is at least 75 (...) percent, and sometimes even 100 percent, from year to year. Early on, I see Singer (1975) and Regan (1983), Adams (1990), DeGrazi (2002), Francione (1996), Singer and Regan again, Linzey (1987), Haraway (1989), Francione again, Wolfe (2003), Derrida (2008), Waldau (2006) .. (shrink)
Washington University v. Catalona revolves around ownership of tissue samples provided by patients for research purposes, raising significant ethical and legal questions concerning patient rights, current human research practices, and the treatment of samples as capital resources by the research institution.
Ernst Troeltschs Analysen einer Familien- und Ehe- bzw. Sexualethik einzelner historischer Ausprägungen des Christentums weisen die normativen Bedenken, die sein Werk “Die Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen” prägen, aus. Im Zuge der Beschreibung der Anschauungen von Geschlecht und Familie, die den jeweiligen Idealtypus von Kirche, Sekte und Mystizismus charakterisieren, untersucht Troeltsch zugleich auch eine zeitgenössische christliche Konzeption von Gleichheit und Ungleichheit, während er konkurrierende Modelle sozialer Beziehung und Organisation kritisch in den Blick nimmt. Zudem sind Troeltschs Gedanken die geschlechterspezifischen (...) Dimensionen eines jeden Idealtypus betreffend von zentraler Bedeutung für eine exakte Bestimmung seiner soziologischen Kategorien und typologischen Unterscheidungen. Sie verdienen darum nicht bloß genauere Beachtung, sondern sind notwendig, will man die gelehrten und politischen Debatten, die Troeltsch als Historiker und Kulturtheoretiker beeinflußten, verstehen. (shrink)
By exploring the life and work of the influential feminist thinker Simone de Beauvoir, this book shows how each of us lives within political and social structures that we can, and must, play a part in transforming.