A growth in consumer and media ethical consciousness has resulted in the need for organizations to ensure that members understand, share and project an approved and unified set of ethics. Thus understanding which variables are related to sharing and variation of ethical reasoning and moral intent, and the relative strength of these variables is critical. While past research has examined individual (attitudes, values, etc.), social (peers, significant others, etc.) and organizational (codes of conduct, senior management, etc.) variables, it has focused (...) on their influence on the individual – and not on their role in relation to patterns of group sharing and variation in an organization. Introduced as a new methodology to study ethics, microcultural analysis stipulates that to explain patterns of sharing and variation, one must understand how individual, social and organizational variables influence sharing and variation. Key hypotheses predict that managers who share in individual, social or organizational determinants will be more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent. Qualitative and quantitative research supports the key hypotheses, finding social ties, personal moral intensity, Machiavellianism, locus of control and codes of ethics as significant determinants. Individuals who share in these determinants are more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent. Additionally, regression analysis reveals social ties and personal moral intensity to be the strongest determinants. Based on these results, managerial recommendations focus on a holistic approach, manipulating these three determinants to cultivate a unified code of ethics within an organization. (shrink)
Despite an extensive amount of research studying the influence of significant others on an individual's ethical behavior, researchers have not examined this variable in the context of organizational group boundaries. This study tests actual and perceptual sharing and variation in ethical reasoning and moral intent within and across functional groups in an organization. Integrating theory on ethical behavior, group dynamics, and culture, it is proposed that organizational structure affects cognitive structure. Departmental boundaries create stronger social ties within the group as (...) well as intergroup biases between the groups. Thus individuals will be more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent with members of their own functional group (in-group) than with members of other functional groups (out-group). Additionally, they will perceive that they are more likely to share in ethical reasoning and moral intent with in-group members than with out-group members. Responding to two versions of two ethical scenarios, respondents contrasted their own ethical behavior to their expected ethical behavior of in-group and out-group members. Empirical results confirmed the hypotheses. Organizational group boundaries create actual as well as perceptual sharing and variation in ethical reasoning and moral intent. Furthermore, when comparing perceptual sharing to actual sharing, results show that individuals understate their sharing of ethical reasoning and moral intent with out-group members and overstate their sharing with in-group members. As organizational boundaries can create actual and perceived differences between groups that could lead to inter-group conflict, suggestions for management focus on removing or blurring inter-group boundaries. (shrink)
A Bayesian network (BN) is a graphical model of uncertainty that is especially well suited to legal arguments. It enables us to visualize and model dependencies between different hypotheses and pieces of evidence and to calculate the revised probability beliefs about all uncertain factors when any piece of new evidence is presented. Although BNs have been widely discussed and recently used in the context of legal arguments, there is no systematic, repeatable method for modeling legal arguments as BNs. Hence, where (...) BNs have been used in the legal context, they are presented as completed pieces of work, with no insights into the reasoning and working that must have gone into their construction. This means the process of building BNs for legal arguments is ad hoc, with little possibility for learning and process improvement. This article directly addresses this problem by describing a method for building useful legal arguments in a consistent and repeatable way. The method complements and extends recent work by Hepler, Dawid, and Leucari (2007) on object-oriented BNs for complex legal arguments and is based on the recognition that such arguments can be built up from a small number of basic causal structures (referred to as idioms). We present a number of examples that demonstrate the practicality and usefulness of the method. (shrink)
Objectives: To discover the current state of opinion and practice among doctors in Victoria, Australia, regarding end-of-life decisions and the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. Longitudinal comparison with similar 1987 and 1993 studies.Design and participants: Cross-sectional postal survey of doctors in Victoria.Results: 53% of doctors in Victoria support the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. Of doctors who have experienced requests from patients to hasten death, 35% have administered drugs with the intention of hastening death. There is substantial disagreement among doctors concerning the (...) definition of euthanasia.Conclusions: Disagreement among doctors concerning the meaning of the term euthanasia may contribute to misunderstanding in the debate over voluntary euthanasia. Among doctors in Victoria, support for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia appears to have weakened slightly over the past 17 years. Opinion on this issue is sharply polarised. (shrink)
Given the tremendous proliferation of student plagiarism involving the Internet, the purpose of this study is to determine which theory of ethical reasoning students invoke when defending their transgressions: deontology, utilitarianism, rational self-interest, Machiavellianism, cultural relativism, or situational ethics. Understanding which theory of ethical reasoning students employ is critical, as preemptive steps can be taken by faculty to counteract this reasoning and prevent plagiarism. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that unethical behavior in school can lead to unethical behavior in business; (...) therefore, correcting unethical behavior in school can have a positive impact on organizational ethics. To meet this objective, a content analysis was conducted on the written records of students formally charged with plagiarizing at a large West Coast university. Each case was classified according to the primary ethical reasoning that the student used to justify plagiarism. Results indicate that students predominately invoke deontology, situational ethics, and Machiavellianism. Based on these findings, specific recommendations are offered to curb plagiarism. (shrink)
In response to recent corporate ethical and financial disasters there has been increased pressure on business schools to improve their teaching of corporate ethics. Accreditation bodies, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, now require member institutions to develop the ethical awareness of business students, either through a dedicated subject or an integrated coverage of ethics across the curriculum. This paper describes an institutional approach to the incorporation of a comprehensive multi-disciplinary ethics framework into the business curriculum. (...) We discuss important implications for the assessment of ethics within institutional assurance practices, and address critical issues related to the support of academics whenrequired to incorporate new ethics material within their subject which may be outside their field of expertise. As an example, the successful application of the framework within the marketing discipline is presented and discussed. (shrink)
Using the Liber Pontificalis and Liber Pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis, the official records of the churches of Rome and Ravenna, the author surveys the evidence for episcopal involvement in the many crises that impinged on these two important cities and on Byzantine Italy generally in the fifth and sixth centuries. Six categories of crisis are investigated. By a comparison of the two sources Neil examines the defining differences between Roman and Ravennan approaches to crisis management in Byzantine Italy.
In a paper in this journal, Neil Levy challenges Nicholas Agar’s argument for the irrationality of mind-uploading. Mind-uploading is a futuristic process that involves scanning brains and recording relevant information which is then transferred into a computer. Its advocates suppose that mind-uploading transfers both human minds and identities from biological brains into computers. According to Agar’s original argument, mind-uploading is prudentially irrational. Success relies on the soundness of the program of Strong AI—the view that it may someday be possible (...) to build a computer that is capable of thought. Strong AI may in fact be false, an eventuality with dire consequences for mind-uploading. Levy argues that Agar’s argument relies on mistakes about the probability of failed mind-uploading and underestimates what is to be gained from successfully mind-uploading. This paper clarifies Agar’s original claims about the likelihood of mind-uploading failure and offers further defense of a pessimistic evaluation of success. (shrink)
In this short, clear and engaging book, Neil Feit defends the unorthodox view that the contents of beliefs and other cognitive attitudes are properties, and not, as is usually held, propositions. The core of his argument has to do with de se beliefs, beliefs about the self. Based on examples and arguments due to Perry , Lewis and Chisholm , along with considerations about internalism and physicalism, Feit offers a battery of arguments for the conclusion that the contents of (...) de se beliefs cannot be propositions and therefore must be properties. For reasons of uniformity and simplicity Feit then extends this conclusion to all beliefs. So, according to Feit, the content of the de se belief that I am a philosopher is the property of being a philosopher, and my having this belief consists in my self-ascribing this property. For de dicto beliefs, believing that p is self-ascribing the property of being such that p, and for de re beliefs, believing that x is F is self-ascribing the property of bearing some relation of acquaintance R to something that is F. For example, to have the de dicto belief that …. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Neil Burtonwood , pp. 295–304, 1998) argued that recent attempts to balance the claims for political citizenship in a liberal democracy with the claims of cultural identity within traditional non-liberal communities are bound to fail; because liberalism cannot be neutral between cultures that value individual autonomy and those that do not, any attempts at reconciling those two perspectives are bound to fail . His claim is that whatever position we begin from, there are real (...) difficulties in achieving a reconciliation between the two perspectives, which he sees as exclusive. He refers to my papers , pp. 11–24, 1995; Educational Studies, 23, pp. 169–184, 1997) where discussion method has been suggested as a means of reconciling the two positions. I still favour this method. This paper agrees with Burtonwood that liberalism is non-neutral in relation to liberal virtues such as equality and respect for persons, and no groups including liberal ones, should be privileged with respect to non-interference from the state. Although the paper acknowledges the value of Popperian critical method, it sees this method as very limited in respect of settling conflicts arising from comprehensive or world-views. Liberals and liberal societies have long realised this and have made attempts to accommodate cultural practices of traditional groups. Although the two positions exclude each other at a deep level, at a more mundane, every-day level, they share much that is common to both, which makes intercultural understandings possible. Education must capitalise on this and take us beyond a single framework. The difficulty is, of course, what do we do and how can we assess the situation, when frameworks themselves clash? The paper argues for dialogue, tolerance and accommodation within limits, set by respect for persons. This is not to ask liberalism to give up what is foundational to liberalism, as Burtonwood suggests, but to reinforce liberalism itself, as we show below. (shrink)
In this article I deal with the impact of digitization on education by revisiting the ideas Neil Postman developed in regard with the omnipresence of screens in the American society of the 1980s and their impact on what it means to grow up and to become an educated person. Arguing, on the one hand, that traditionally education is profoundly related to the initiation into literacy, and on the other hand, that the screen may come to replace the book as (...) the prevailing educational medium, Postman’s theses are worth reconsidering. Moreover I propose to develop further one strain of thought in Postman’s work, viz. the interconnectedness of technological inventions, material practices and ideas regarding what education is all about. As such I analyse in great detail the differences between traditional and digital literacy by looking from a material and practical perspective at how we relate to books and screens. This is not a normative analysis, but one that aims at fleshing out differences in spaces of experience. As such I wind up with suggestions regarding the affordances that a new form of literacy, no longer based on the model of the book, might bring about. (shrink)
In his article on poetry in health care education, Neil Pickering puts forward an argument of radical unpredictability: as we can never know in advance how a poem will be interpreted, it can be of no external use.1 It is, however, exactly this potential to give rise to multiple interpretations that makes the poem valuable. We hold that the poem should be read and discussed with no other intention than to discover and reflect on its possible meanings. Exactly this (...) process, preferably in dialogue with other readers, may very well serve as one of the ends of the poem, and the results of it hence constitute its external use. (shrink)
Neil MacCormick says that his "version of institutional theory" about the law 'is "non positivist", or, if you wish, "post-positivist"'. He is aware, however, that his work could be perfectly labelled, from the point of view of the history of legal and moral thought, as a form of natural law theory, at least by those who adhere to some version of natural law. It is an important merit of MacCormick that, rising above the label walls and wars, his theory (...) of law has taken into account the main insights of the great authors belonging to both traditions, such as Hans Kelsen and Herbert Hart, on the so-called "positivist" side, and some authors in the Thomistic tradition, particularly John Finnis, as well as "the writings of seventeenth and eighteenth century jurists concerning natural jurisprudence and the law of nature", on the so-called "natural law" side. Writing with such openness to all sources and insights, Neil MacCormick, one of the most eminent legal philosophers of our time, does not surprise us when he chooses to end his lifetime's work with an attempt to dig into the ethical foundations of all that he has written on law and politics. Practical Reason in Law and Morality is, in a way, his most significant book. He tackles here the deeper issues that he himself realised were left open and uncertain in his salient works on legal theory. He considered this book as the last one in a quartet on "Law, State, and Practical Reason". The quartet itself has become the culmination of a life devoted to the common good, in academia and in politics, among many other endeavours. Notwithstanding its flaws, I am convinced that Neil MacCormick's last book can be illuminating for all those students, and even professors, who go about doing legal philosophy without ever reading anything antedating Hart's Concept of Law. They tend to be confused by sophisticated forms of scepticism, luxurious discussions on law and morality and metaethics, and all sorts of distrust of truth in practical matters. Hence they will surely benefit from reading how a great legal philosopher of our time, once equally confused but always honestly open to rational deliberation and fair discussion, freed himself of at least half of his misunderstandings, and learned a lot by reading some natural law theorists old and new. (shrink)
THOMAS WELSH calls for further interpretations of the lyrics of noted rock musician-artist Neil Peart; he argues that it might uncover a broader Randian influence than currently reported and thus contribute to the ongoing resurrection of her ideas in popular culture. Welsh speculates that Peart might have more in common with Rand's long-time associate, psychologist Nathaniel Branden, especially on the usage, meaning, and practice of self-esteem.
This paper offers a diachronic reconstruction of MacCormick's theory of law and legal argumentation: In particular, two related points will be highlighted in which the difference between the perspective upheld in Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory and the later writings is particularly marked. The first point concerns MacCormick's gradual break with legal positivism, and more specifically the thesis that the implicit pretension to justice of law proves legal positivism false in all its different versions. The second point concerns MacCormick's acceptance (...) of the one-right-answer thesis and the consequent thinning of the differences between MacCormick's theory of legal reasoning and that of Ronald Dworkin and of Robert Alexy. The intent, however, is not only to describe this change in MacCormick's thought, but also to attempt a defence of the original view that we find in Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory. (shrink)