An important way in which philosophy can contribute to public discourse is by clarifying concepts that are central to it. This paper is a philosophical contribution in that spirit. It offers an account of fake news—a notion that has entered public debate following the 2016 US presidential election. On the view I defend, fake news is Frankfurtian bullshit that is asserted in the form of a news publication. According to Frankfurt’s famous account, bullshit has two characteristics. There is, firstly, an (...) “indifference to how things really are” on the part of the bullshitter. This does not mean that what a bullshitter says is always false. It might well be true. What it does mean, however, is that, unlike a liar, who tries to convince us that a given statement he believes to be false is true, a bullshitter simply does not care whether what he says is true. The same, I believe, is true of the publisher of fake news. Secondly, the bullshitter misrepresents “in a certain way … what he is up to”. Likewise, the publisher of fake news seems to misrepresent what he is up to. It appears that he wants to hide his actual motives. At any rate, so I will argue. (shrink)
This book argues that critics of consequentialism have not been able to make a successful and comprehensive case against all versions of consequentialism because they have been using the wrong methodology. This methodology relies on the crucial assumption that consequentialist theories share a defining characteristic. This text interprets consequentialism, instead, as a family resemblance term. On that basis, it argues quite an ambitions claim, viz. that all versions of consequentialism should be rejected, including those that have been created in response (...) to conventional criticisms. The book covers a number of classic themes in normative ethics, metaethics and, particularly, ethical methodology and also touches upon certain aspects of experimental moral philosophy. It is written in clear language and is analytic in its argumentative style. As such, the book should appeal to students, graduate students as well as professional academics with an interest in analytic moral philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a conceptual analysis of fake news. In essence, I suggest analysing this notion as a species of Frankfurtian bullshit. This construal, I argue, allows us to distinguish it from similar phenomena like bad or biased journalism and satire. First, I introduce four test cases. The first three are, intuitively, not cases of fake news, while the fourth one is. A correct conceptual analysis should, hence, exclude the first three while including the fourth. Next, I go (...) through some factors that could explain the difference between the first three cases and the fourth one before I offer my explanation. After that, I propose an analysis of fake news and show that it matches our intuitions about the four test cases. Finally, I consider a possible objection to my proposal. (shrink)
This chapter offers a concise discussion of classic utilitarianism which is the prototypical moral doctrine of the utilitarian family. It starts with an analysis of the classic utilitarian criterion of rightness, gives an overview over its virtues and vices, and suggests an overall assessment of its adequacy as a theory of morality. Furthermore, it briefly discusses whether classic utilitarianism holds promise as a philosophy for doing business.
This book examines the theoretical foundations of order ethics and discusses business ethics problems from an order ethics perspective. Order ethics focuses on the social order and the institutional environment in which individuals interact. It is a well-established paradigm in European business ethics. The book contains articles written by leading experts in the field and provides both a concise introduction to order ethics and short summary articles homing in on specific aspects of the order-ethical paradigm. It presents contributions describing fundamental (...) concepts, historical roots, and the economic, social, and philosophical background of the theory. The second part of the handbook focuses on the theory's application in business, society, and politics, casting new light on an array of topics that loom large in contemporary ethical discourse.. (shrink)
Those who invoke the notion of moral responsibility in ethical discourse seem to be faced with a dilemma. Apparently, they either have to violate the “control principle” which says that nobody can be held responsible for what is beyond one's control. Or they have to concede that in many cases there is a “responsibility void” which means that nobody is responsible. The first option seems unjustifiable. The second renders the concept of moral responsibility useless. This dilemma may be taken to (...) suggest that thinking about moral issues in terms of responsibility is an unproductive way of doing ethics. In our paper we offer a solution which, we hope, can rehabilitate responsibility as a moral concept. It combines order ethics (which is a kind of ethics that primarily focuses on the institutional structure of society) with a recently developed account of group agency. (shrink)
In normative ethics there has been a long-standing debate between consequentialists and deontologists. To settle this dispute moral theorists have often used a selective approach. They have focused on particular aspects of our moral practice and have teased out what consequentialists and deontologists have to say about it. One of the focal points of this debate has been the morality of promising. In this paper I review arguments on both sides and examine whether consequentialists or deontologists offer us a more (...) plausible account of promissory obligation. My conclusion is negative. Given the arguments on the table, I argue, we should conclude that the debate is in a stalemate. It is, therefore, hard to see how the issue of promissory obligation could help us choose between consequentialism and deontology. (shrink)
The idea of responsibility is deeply embedded into the “lifeworld” of human beings and not subject to change. However, the empirical circumstances in which we act and ascribe responsibility to one another are subject to change. Science and technology play a great part in this transformation process. Therefore, it is important for us to rethink the idea, the role and the normative standards behind responsibility in a world that is constantly being transformed under the influence of scientific and technological progress. (...) This volume is a contribution to that joint societal effort. (shrink)
The empirical circumstances in which human beings ascribe responsibility to one another are subject to change. Science and technology play a great part in this transformation process. Therefore, it is important for us to rethink the idea, the role and the normative standards behind responsibility in a world that is constantly changing under the influence of scientific and technological progress. This volume is a contribution to that joint societal effort.
This chapter discusses how order ethics relates to the theory of justice. We focus on John Rawls's influential conception "Justice as Fairness" (JF) and compare its components with relevant aspects of the order-ethical approach. The two theories, we argue, are surprisingly compatible in various respects. We also analyse how far order ethicists disagree with Rawls and why. The main source of disagreement that we identify lies in a thesis that is central to the order ethical system, viz. the requirement of (...) incentive-compatible implementability. It purports that an ethical norm can be normatively valid only if individuals have a self-interested motive to support it. This idea conflicts with the Rawlsian view because there are cases where it is not clear, from the standpoint of self-interest, why everybody should support its moral demands. If the thesis of incentive-compatible implementability is, in fact, correct, a proponent of JF would have to reform her views. We suggest how she could do that while salvaging the heart of her normative system as a “regulative idea”. The conception that would result from this reformation may be seen as a new variant of order ethics, which we propose to call “Rawlsian Order Ethics”. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the question whether drones, which may soon possess the ability to make autonomous choices, should be allowed to make life-and-death decisions and act on them. To this end, I examine an argument proposed by Rob Sparrow, who dismisses the ethicality of what he calls “killer robots”. If successful, his conclusion would extend to the use of what I call autonomous killer drones, which are special kinds of killer robots. In Sparrow’s reasoning, considerations of responsibility occupy (...) centre stage. Though I reject his argument, I agree both with Sparrow’s conclusion and with his basic contention that the idea of responsibility should play an important role in the investigation of the problem at hand. Therefore, I propose a different argument to show that we should not allow autonomous robots and more specifically autonomous drones to make life-and-death decisions. This argument also invokes the concept of responsibility. But it does so in a way that is different from Sparrow’s use and is congenial to an account of responsibility that I favour. It assumes the simple principle that morally significant choices should only be made by subjects who are capable of responsibility, which can be reconciled both with a deontological and a consequentialist view of morality. Since killer robots, and in particular autonomous killer drones, seem to lack that capability, it follows that they should not be entrusted to make life-and-death decisions and act on them. (shrink)
John Rawls' Differenzprinzip verlangt, die gesellschaftlichen Spielregeln zum größten Vorteil der sozial Schwächsten einzurichten. Der vorliegende Band analysiert, was diese sozialethische Maxime realiter erfordert und erklärt, wie sie moralphilosophisch begründet werden kann. Dabei wird betont, dass die faktische Realisierbarkeit ethischer Prinzipien eine Bedingung ihrer normativen Geltung darstellt. Und es wird eine Interpretation des Differenzprinzips vorgestellt, die eine Umsetzung der Rawlsschen Idee auch unter realen gesellschaftlichen Bedingungen ermöglicht.
Dieses Buch erklärt anschaulich und lebensnah die zentralen Regeln vernünftigen Denkens – die 10 Gebote des gesunden Menschenverstands. Diese Regeln sind essentiell für jeden, der im Leben Erfolg haben möchte. Denn wer Erfolg haben will, muss klug entscheiden. Und wer klug entscheiden will, muss klar und vernünftig denken. Aber wie können Sie diese Fähigkeit entwickeln? Nikil Mukerji, Philosoph und Unternehmensberater, weiß Rat: Sie müssen zehn Regeln befolgen, die verblüffend einfach sind, aber sogar von intelligenten Menschen häufig verletzt werden: die 10 (...) Gebote des gesunden Menschenverstands. Jedes dieser Gebote wird wissenschaftlich fundiert erläutert und anhand zahlreicher Beispiele aus verschiedenen Lebensbereichen praktisch veranschaulicht. Konkrete Tipps erleichtern Ihnen die Umsetzung der 10 Gebote in Ihrer eigenen Lebenspraxis. (shrink)
Was tun Philosophen eigentlich, wenn sie Philosophie treiben? Oder besser: Was sollten Philosophen tun, wenn sie Philosophie treiben? Diese Frage ist selbst eine philosophische. Und sie wird seit einigen Jahren wieder mit zunehmender Intensität diskutiert. Dafür ist vor allem eine neue philosophische Bewegung verantwortlich, die man als „experimentelle Philosophie“ oder kurz „ x-phi “ bezeichnet. Anhänger dieser Bewegung glauben, die Philosophie solle sich in Vorgehensweise und Methodik den empirischen Wissenschaften annähern und philosophischen Fragestellungen mithilfe empirischer Tests zu Leibe rücken. Diese (...) Ansicht steht im krassen Widerspruch zur konventionellen Sichtweise, nach der die Philosophie eine empirieferne Disziplin ist, die von Philosophen im sprichwörtlichen Lehnstuhl betrieben werden kann. Entsprechend stießen die Thesen experimenteller Philosophen bei Vertretern der klassischen Sichtweise zunächst auf Stirnrunzeln und Unverständnis. Mittlerweile hat sich die experimentelle Philosophie jedoch zu einer reputierlichen Position entwickelt, der ganze Aufsatzbände gewidmet werden. Im Folgenden werden wir einen ihrer Teilbereiche betrachten, nämlich die „experimentelle Ethik“. Dazu werden wir zunächst die klassische Sichtweise von Ethik einführen, die das Bild einer autonomen, von empirischer Wissenschaft weitestgehend unabhängigen Ethik zeichnet. Danach werden wir die experimentell-ethische Sichtweise einführen, die mit dem traditionellen Bild bricht. Es soll uns lediglich darum gehen, die zentrale These der experimentellen Ethik, nach der empirisch-wissenschaftliche Fragen für ethische Grundsatzfragen relevant sind, zu verstehen und zu plausibilisieren. Wir werden zu diesem Zweck zwei Argumentationslinien betrachten, die deutlich machen, dass grundsätzliche ethische Fragen von empirisch-wissenschaftlichen Fragen abhängen können. Schließlich werden wir klären, welche Rolle der klassischen Lehnstuhl-Philosophie im Rahmen des experimentell-ethischen Paradigmas zukommt bzw. zukommen sollte. (shrink)
Wie kann ein Experiment zur Beantwortung philosophischer Fragestellungen beitragen? Etwa: Was ist Wissen? Was bedeuten sprachliche Ausdrücke? Haben wir einen freien Willen? Kann man etwas absichtlich tun, ohne es zu beabsichtigen? Vertreter einer jungen philosophischen Bewegung wollen den Fragen ihres Fachs mithilfe empirisch-psychologischer Methoden auf den Grund gehen. Anstatt den Lehnstuhl (»armchair«) aufzusuchen, um sich philosophischen Problemen zu widmen, begeben sich experimentelle Philosophen ins Labor, um mithilfe empirischer Informationen aus Psychologie, Neurowissenschaft und Kognitionswissenschaft philosophische Schlussfolgerungen zu stützen. Die Einführung gibt (...) einen anschaulichen Einblick in das neue Forschungsfeld der XPhi und stellt wichtige experimentelle Beiträge zur Erkenntnistheorie, Sprachphilosophie, Philosophie des Geistes und Handlungstheorie vor. In den Blick genommen wird außerdem die florierende metaphilosophische Debatte, die zwischen experimentellen Philosophen und ihren Kritikern geführt wird. (shrink)
Suitable for student readers and more advanced scholars who would like an introduction to experimental philosophy, this book guides the reader through current debates on the topic, and provides links to current and emerging work in the field.
The theme of this issue of the St. Gallen Business Review is "Harmony". For this reason, we would like to discuss whether two aspects of our life- world are in harmony, namely economic optimization and morality. What is the relation between them? According to a widely shared view, which is one aspect of the doctrine of "mainstream economics", the functioning of an economic system does not require moral behaviour on the part of the individual economic agent. In what follows, we (...) will try to convince you that this is false. If all economic agents – managers, employees, bankers, consumers and so on – were purely self-interested, as mainstream economics assumes, our economic practice would fail. There are various reasons for this. Here we will focus on one of them, namely the pivotal role of interpersonal communication. (shrink)
Minimum wages are usually assumed to be inefficient as they prevent the full exploitation of mutual gains from trade. Yet advocates of wage regulation policies have repeatedly claimed that this loss in market efficiency can be justified by the pursuit of ethical goals. Policy makers, it is argued, should not focus on efficiency alone. Rather, they should try to find an adequate balance between efficiency and equity targets. This idea is based on a two-worlds-paradigm that sees ethics and economics as (...) two inherently conflicting ways of thinking. We, however, believe that this view of the relationship between ethics and economics is fundamentally flawed and blurs our understanding of how an ethically responsible regulation of the labour market should be conducted. In drawing on an economic-ethical approach that resolves the antinomy between efficiency and equity, we show that ethics and economics are, in fact, two sides of the same coin and that minimum wage legislation can only be ethically responsible, if it is at the same time economically efficient. In other words, we can have our cake and eat it too. On the basis of our approach, we develop two simple game theoretical models for different types of labour markets and derive policy implications from an economic-ethical viewpoint. We suggest that under the assumption of perfectly competitive labour markets a tax-funded wage subsidy is preferable over minimum wages, as it makes everyone better off. If, however, employers have monopsony power in the wage setting process, the minimum wage is justifiable under certain conditions. (shrink)
Some ethicists believe that we should give no weight to low-level intuitions about cases. In this paper, three common arguments for this position are examined and rejected. All have an empirical basis. The first is the argument from disagreement. The second draws on framing effects. And the third employs debunking explanations. The discussion aims to make a substantive methodological point about ethical inquiry, viz. that low-level intuitions are not to be shunned. Above that, however, its aim is to illuminate, by (...) way of illustration, the relation between empirical findings and normative conclusions – a link that is rather intricate and can only be explored through armchair reflection. (shrink)
Is the minimum wage ethically justifiable? In this chapter, we attempt to answer this question from an order-ethical perspective. To this end, we develop two simple game theoretical models for different types of labour markets and derive policy implications from an order-ethical viewpoint. Our investigation yields a twofold conclusion. Firstly, order ethicists should prefer a tax-funded wage subsidy over minimum wages, if they assume that labour markets are perfectly competitive. Secondly, order ethics suggests that the minimum wage can be ethically (...) justified if employers have monopsony power in the wage setting process. As it turns out, then, order ethics neither favours nor disfavours the minimum wage. Rather, it implies conditions under which this form of labour market regulation is justified and, hence, allows empirical science to play a great role in answering the ethical questions that arise in the context of the minimum wage debate. This illustrates one of order ethics’ strengths, viz. the fact that it tends to de-ideologize the debate about ethical issues. (shrink)
Karl Homann ist vor allem als Wirtschaftsethiker bekannt. Er war der erste Inhaber eines wirtschaftsethischen Lehrstuhls und gilt als einer derjenigen Autoren, die das Fach Wirtschaftsethik im deutschen Sprachraum maßgeblich geprägt haben. Dabei hat Homann seinen wirtschaftsethischen Theorieentwurf nie als eine schlichte Anwendung ethischer Grundsätze auf Fragen des Wirtschaftens verstanden. Vielmehr begriff er ihn als allgemeinen ethischen Ansatz mit ökonomischer Methode. Im Rahmen dieses Ansatzes sollte die abendländische Moral ökonomisch rekonstruiert werden, um sie so unter den Bedingungen moderner Gesellschaften mit (...) institutionalisiertem marktwirtschaftlichen Wettbewerb überlebensfähig zu machen. Mit seiner neuen Monographie Sollen und Können stellt Karl Homann dieses Grundmodell einem weiteren Leserkreis vor. Er will sein Buch also nicht als einen neuen Beitrag zur Wirtschaftsethik-Debatte verstanden wissen, sondern als allgemeinen philosophischen Ethikentwurf. Die Argumentation, die Homann in Sollen und Können vorstellt, soll im Folgenden selektiv zusammengefasst und kritisch gewürdigt werden. (shrink)
We offer a concise introduction to the methodology of order-ethics and highlight how it connects aspects of economic theory and, in particular, game theory with traditional ethical considerations. The discussion is conducted along the lines of five basic propositions, which are used to characterize the methodological approach of order ethics.
In this essay, we argue against radical ethical views about human enhancement that either dismiss or endorse it tout court. Instead, we advocate the moderate stance that issues of enhancement should be examined with an open mind and on a case-by-case basis. To make this view plausible, we offer three reasons. The first lies in the fact that it is difficult to delineate enhancement conceptually, which makes it hard to argue for general ethical conclusions about it. The second is that (...) an appropriate view of the edifice of moral theory suggests that tenable moral judgements about human enhancement are the result of a careful consideration of the pros and cons that attach to the use of a specific enhancement technology. Lastly, we show that important normative factors in the enhancement debate can be used both in arguments for and in arguments against enhancement. The bottom line of our discussion is that we should treat issues of human enhancement like we do any other ethical issue, viz. by weighing up the reasons pro and con. (shrink)
Over the years, consequentialism has been subjected to numerous serious objections. Its adherents, however, have been remarkably successful in fending them off. As I argue in this paper, the reason why the case against consequentialism has not been more successful lies, at least partly, in the methodological approach that critics have commonly used. Their arguments have usually proceeded in two steps. First, a definition of consequentialism is given. Then, objections are put forward based on that definition. This procedure runs into (...) one of two problems. Substantive criticisms of consequentialism can only be formulated, if the posited definition is sufficiently concrete and narrow. In that case, however, consequentialists can defend themselves using a strategy that I call “interpretive divergence”. They can simply point out that the critic's definition does not accord with their understanding of consequentialism to which criticisms do not apply. If, on the other hand, an all-encompassing definition is used, it is so abstract that it is doubtful whether any substantive criticisms can be formulated. To escape this dilemma, I sketch a methodological approach which drops the assumption that consequentialism should be defined. It assumes, rather, that the term “consequentialism” should be interpreted as a Wittgensteinian family resemblance term. (shrink)
In this essay, I will examine how technological progress affects the responsibilities of human agents. To this end, I will distinguish between two interpretations of the concept of responsibility, viz. responsibility as attributability and substantive responsibility. On the former interpretation, responsibility has to do with the idea of authorship. When we say that a person is responsible for her actions we mean that she is to be seen as the author of these actions. They can be attributed to her, such (...) that she can be normatively appraised – i.e. blamed, praised, etc. – on that basis. In discussing this kind of responsibility I will show that the responsibility of human agents tends to increase as their technologies progress. This claim is often taken for granted, but seldom clarified and argued for. I will give it a clear interpretation and provide a semi-formal reasoning that supports it. The second interpretation of responsibility that I will discuss is substantive responsibility. It has to do with the normative demands that confront us with what we are required to do. I will argue that technological change can affect, firstly, what our substantive responsibilities are on a case-by-case basis. Secondly, I will try to show that it can affect the way we think about our substantive responsibilities at the level of theoretical normative ethics. (shrink)
When moral philosophers evaluate moral theories they often draw on trolley cases. A number of authors have recently put forward objections against this approach to moral inquiry. In my paper, I will consider some of their criticisms. In doing so, I will not try to address the question whether the methodic use of trolley cases is ultimately defensible. I will rather draw attention to an important distinction that has hitherto been neglected. This distinction is between two uses to which trolley (...) cases can be put, viz. the constructive use and the destructive use. I will argue that this differentiation is important, because some of the most powerful objections to the use of trolley cases apply only to their constructive use. Conclusions regarding the ultimate tenability of the methodic application of trolley cases may, hence, turn on assumptions as to how they are applied. I will start my talk with a discussion of the characteristics of trolley cases. Then, I will distinguish their constructive and destructive use. Finally, I will address arguments against trolley cases in light of this distinction. (shrink)
Die Medizin ist nur eines von vielen Beispielen, die zeigen, wie wichtig die Unterscheidung zwischen Wissenschaft und Pseudowissenschaft ist. Wer wissenschaftlich erforschte Arzneimittel verwendet, der maximiert seine Chance auf Heilung. Wer sich dagegen auf pseudowissenschaftliche Präparate verlässt, der verschenkt diese Chance oder schadet sich sogar. Aus diesem Grund ist die Frage, wie man Pseudowissenschaften erkennt, nicht nur von wissenschaftsphilosophischem Interesse. Es handelt sich dabei um eine enorm wichtige, lebenspraktische Frage. Der folgende Beitrag stellt zehn Kriterien vor, die bei der Unterscheidung (...) von Wissenschaft und Pseudowissenschaft helfen. (shrink)
In this short piece, I explore why we, as moral philosophers, should watch sci-fi movies. Though I do not believe that sci-fi material is ne- cessary for doing good moral philosophy, I give three broad reasons why good sci-fi movies should nevertheless be worth our time. These reasons lie in the fact that they can illustrate moral-philosophical pro- blems, probe into possible solutions and, perhaps most importantly, an- ticipate new issues that may go along with the use of new technologies. (...) For the sake of illustration, I focus, for the most part, on aspects of robo-ethics in the movie I, Robot. (shrink)
Der alle drei Jahre tagende Kongress der „Deutschen Gesellschaft für Philosophie“ (DGPhil) ist der größte Kongress für Philosophie in Deutschland. Vom 11.-15. September fand er diesmal an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München statt. Mit rund 1600 Teilnehmern und über 400 philosophischen Vorträgen fiel er, auch durch den Veranstaltungsort bedingt, wesentlich umfangreicher aus als der XXI. Kongress in Essen.
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