In the criminal law of many jurisdictions complicity, though not itself a substantive crime but a way of committing a crime, is a doctrine that determines when one person is legally liable for a criminal offense that was committed by another person, typically by being an accomplice. That doctrine has a number of troubling moral implications with respect to responsibility, particularly when complicity is employed as a devise to capture one agent as morally accountable for the actions of another agent (...) and/or the consequences of those actions. I focus on the issue of responsibility for consequences and actus reus and mens rea difficulties with complicity as a moral concept in the light of two cases in which complicity is the basis for ascriptions of moral and criminal responsibility to someone who was not the primary wrongdoer. The book on the topic by Chiara Lepora and Robert E. Goodin provokes my discussion. (shrink)
Ethics and College Sports is a careful analysis of the root problems in intercollegiate athletics in American universities. It examines the prevalent myths that are regularly used to justify the inclusion of intercollegiate athletics, and all of the abuses and scandals it has brought to university campuses, from a moral perspective.
The tragic crash of Air New Zealand's flight TE-901 into Mt. Erebus in Antarctica provides a fascinating case for the exploration of the notion of corporate moral responsibility. A principle of accountability that has Aristotelian roots and is significantly different from the usual strict intentional action principles is examined and defined. That principle maintains that a person can be held morally accountable for previous non-intentional behavior that has harmful effects if the person does not take corrective measures to adjust his (...) ways of behavior so as not to produce repetitions. This principle is then applied to the Mt. Erebus disaster. (shrink)
Richard Rorty has drawn a distinction between three ways philosophers in the 20th Century have conceived of the enterprise of philosophy. There are those who see it as the guardian of the sciences, those who treat it as a kina of poetry, and those who view philosophy as a political exercise. In this paper, I try to show that Wittgenstein, despite certain popular conceptions of his project, belongs more in the third group than in the other two. The paper focuses (...) on Wittgenstein's notes On Certainty in order to reveal the structure of Wittgenstein's notion of epistemological privilege and how it depends on communal agreement and behaviour. The system of conventions and commitments on which our vanouis practices are grounded is not justifiable. It is a matter of forms of life. (shrink)
In the following essay, the theoretical apparatus for distinguishing various types of collectivities (aggregates and conglomerates) is described. This is followed by a consideration of how responsibility ascriptions to different types of collectivities are to be understood vis à vis those to individual group members. It is suggested that the "medical profession" (distinctly different from the "medical team" and the "hospital corporation") is an aggregate collectivity. That is, the "medical profession" consists of the "sum" of the identities of its membership, (...) which can be shown to entail that if the "profession" is held responsible for something, each of its members is responsible, in some way, for it. This is to suggest that the "medical profession" is not a shield that hides individual medical practitioners from responsibility for the general state of health care. Quite the contrary. The use of the name of the aggregate in such a responsibility ascription puts each and every one of them "on call." CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
I. On the morning of 28 November 1979 flight TE-901, a DC-10 operated by Air New Zealand Limited, took off from Auckland, New Zealand, on a sightseeing passenger flight over a portion of Antarctica. The pilot in command was Captain Collins. The following are paragraphs from the official Report of the Royal Commission that inquired into the events surrounding that flight.
_The Scope of Morality _ was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. The scope of morality, Peter A. French contends, is much narrower than many traditional and contemporary works in ethical theory suggest. We trivialize morality if we think it has something to say about everything we do; it touches us all, but not at all times. This (...) essay in philosophical ethics focuses upon the origin, purpose, and function of the various concepts to be found in a more or less mature morality. The author draws a distinction between moral concepts that arise from an individual's wish to live a worthwhile life and those directed towards the development of virtue in the moral community. Moral concepts, in his view, are subjective creations of human beings rather than laws with an objective basis in nature. The ethics of sociobiology, of the lifeboat and spaceship models, and of game theory all come under his critical eye in this useful and progressive work. _The Scope of Morality_, says Hector-Neri Castaneda, "represents a serious effort at discussing the nature of morality, taking into account the most important contributions of recent writers.". (shrink)
This volume of _Midwest Studies_ focuses on the currently hot topic in ethics and action theory of shared intentions and relates it to issues in collective responsibility. Each of the essays in the volume is by an internationally known scholar who has published seminal pieces on various aspects of the concepts of shared intention and collective responsibility. Features all new essays that expand the discussion and invite those interested in the topic to examine a variety of ways for understanding the (...) basic idea and the application of the notion of shared intention to a range of contemporary issues in the ethics of responsibility. (shrink)
I suggest that part of the reason the on-going debate in the West between the liberal democrats and the communitarians about the future and/or the ills of democracy is futile because both sides are committed to conceptually different accounts of democracy. The roots of communitarianism in the Athenian polis and that of liberalism in the atomistic individualism of the Enlightenment are contrasted in order to discern the motivating visions and overarching structures of both. Whereas communitarian democracy is willdominated, liberal democracy (...) is choice-dominated. My purpose here is not to argue for the supremacy of one over the other, but to call attention to the distinctions between the two that are often blurred in contemporary discussion about democracy. (shrink)
Self-blaming expressions are common. For example, “I blame myself for missing the deadline;” “I’m the only one to blame for my alcoholism;” “I can’t stop blaming myself for what he did to me;” “Bless me Father, for I have sinned;” “My bad, I’ll pay for it;” “I’m so ashamed of having done that;” and, “Damn me, I’ve done it again!”Self-blame occupies a sizable chunk of what is published in academic psychology, but there is not that much on the topic in (...) philosophy. My intent is to offer some thoughts and explorations about self-blaming in the context of a wider view of negative responsibility ascriptions that are not uttered at the time of the untoward action, and to use a distinction drawn in a piece from the psychological literature to suggest a link between a certain kind of self-blame, repentance, and acts of atonement.PreliminariesSelf-blaming is a form of holding oneself responsible, a way of expressing a negative self-reactive attitude subsequent to the performance of an action. .. (shrink)
Peter French examines the world of the western, one in which death is annihilation, the culmination of life, and there is nothing else. In that world he finds alternatives to Judeo-Christian traditions that dominate our ethical theories, alternatives that also attack the views of the most prominent ethicists of the past three centuries.