We argue that some sign language loci (i.e. positions in signing space that realize discourse referents) are both formal variables and simplified representations of what they denote; in other words, they are simultaneously logical symbols and pictorial representations. We develop a 'formal semantics with iconicity' that accounts for their dual life; the key idea ('formal iconicity') is that some geometric properties of signs must be preserved by the interpretation function. We analyze in these terms three kinds of iconic effects in (...) American and French Sign Language (ASL and LSF): (i) structural iconicity, where relations of inclusion and complementation among loci are directly reflected in their denotations; (ii) locus-external iconicity, where the high or low position of a locus in signing space has a direct semantic reflex, akin to the semantic contribution of gender features of pronouns; and (iii) locus-internal iconicity, where different parts of a structured locus are targeted by different directional verbs, as was argued by Liddell and Kegl. The resulting semantics combines insights of two traditions that have been sharply divided by recent debates. In line with the 'formalist camp' (e.g. Lillo-Martin and Klima, Neidle, and Sandler and Lillo-Martin), our theory treats loci as variables, and develops an explicit formal analysis of their behavior. But we also incorporate insights of the 'iconic camp', which emphasized the role of iconic constraints in sign language in general and in pronominals in particular (e.g. Cuxac, Taub, Liddell). However, this synthesis is only possible if formal semantics makes provisions for iconic requirements at the very core of its interpretive procedure. (An Appendix discusses relevant data from Italian Sign Language [LIS].). (shrink)
The literatures of business ethics and international business have generally had little influence on each other. Nevertheless, the decline in the power of nation states, the emergence of non-governmental organizations, the proliferation of self-regulatory bodies, and the changing responsibilities, roles, and structure of multinational corporations make constructive engagement between these two disciplines imperative. This changing institutional landscape creates many areas of common concern. In this article, we describe the changing institutional context of global business and suggest ways in which both (...) business ethics and international business may inform each other more fruitfully. (shrink)
Donaldson and Dunfee (1999) suggest in a brief discussion that a manager may in some cases rely on his or her own values inmaking organizational decisions. Our paper examines the role of diversity in values in an organizational context. Our central contentionis that value diversity among managers, employees, and other stakeholders on dimensions such as prudence-boldness, clarity-flexibility, and rigor-mercy is highly useful for an organization. We introduce nontechnical models of individual and board decision-making in which value diversity cuts across group (...) interests that would otherwise control the decision. In these models, decision-makers who are influenced by values such as prudence or boldness as well as by their group interests are more likely to avoid suboptimal decisions, because their weaker but not their more intense group interests are likely to be overridden by their cross-cutting value inclinations. (shrink)
The import of computational learning theories and techniques on the ethics of human-robot interaction is explored in the context of recent developments of personal robotics. An epistemological reflection enables one to isolate a variety of background hypotheses that are needed to achieve successful learning from experience in autonomous personal robots. The conjectural character of these background hypotheses brings out theoretical and practical limitations in our ability to predict and control the behaviour of learning robots in their interactions with humans. Responsibility (...) ascription problems, which concern damages caused by learning robot actions, are analyzed in the light of these epistemic limitations. Finally, a broad framework is outlined for ethically motivated scientific inquiries, which aim at improving our capability to understand, anticipate, and selectively cope with harmful errors by learning robots. (shrink)
Step therapy is an insurance company policy whereby patients must try a less costly treatment and fail-first before the insurer will cover another, more costly treatment. This article argues that there are relevant and well-established principles of medical ethics—the duty to practice evidenced-based medicine and the duty to consider cost-effectiveness when treating patients—that constrain and guide physician behavior with respect to step therapy; clinical practice guidelines promulgated by authoritative physician groups attempt to incorporate and reconcile the competing demands of evidenced-based (...) and cost-effective medicine, although it is unclear whether they do so in a manner that appropriately considers all relevant ethical factors relating to cost-effectiveness; and despite the potential shortcomings of CPGs, the ethical principles guiding and constraining physician behavior can help demarcate the ethical boundaries for other actors in the drug prescribing and reimbursement matrix, including insurance companies and benefit managers. (shrink)
Nijhawan argues convincingly that predictive mechanisms are pervasive in the central nervous system (CNS). However, scientific understanding of visual prediction requires one to formulate empirically testable neurophysiological models. The author's suggestions in this direction are to be evaluated on the basis of more realistic experimental methodologies and more plausible assumptions on the hierarchical character of the human visual cortex.
This article examines the presuppositions and theoretical frameworks of the “new-wave” “Post-Westphalian” approach to international business ethics and compares it to the more philosophically oriented moral theory approach that has predominated in the field. I contrast one author’s Post-Westphalian political approach to the human rights responsibilities of transnational corporations with my own “Fair Share” theory of moral responsibility for human rights. I suggest how the debate about the meaning of corporate human rights “complicity” might be informed by the fair share (...) theory. While I point out that Post-Westphalians and moral philosophers may have fundamental disagreements about basic concepts such as legitimacy, justice, and democratic deliberation, I conclude that the Post-Westphalians have made a major contribution to the expansion of the field by presenting business ethicists with an opportunity to inform and guide debates about the potential future course of transnational governance. (shrink)