Two distinct and perhaps mutually exclusive understandings of utilitarianism have emerged in the ethics literature. Utilitarianism is typically regarded as an approach to determine ethicality by focusing on whether or not actions produce the greater good, but has also been conceptualized as a set of traits to which individuals might be predisposed. This paper is designed to clarify the meaning and implications of such utilitarian traits as “results-oriented,” “innovative,” and “a winner.” Although the Janus-headed model of ethical theory from which (...) these traits emerged had been acknowledged by its developer as possibly misrepresenting typical views of utilitarianism, much research using these traits appears to have been conducted without clear recognition of this. If the conceptual foundation underpinning hypothesis development is disconnected from the measure used to test them, then little support for relevant predictions should emerge. A review of the literature which featured utilitarian traits generally confirmed this. This paper also explored the origins and emergence of these traits and suggested that existing evidence that these measure utilitarian ethical predispositions is not especially persuasive. Understanding what utilitarian traits do not assess is critical in order for knowledge about this potentially useful measure to advance. (shrink)
Investigations into ethical judgments generally seem fuzzy as to the relevant research domain. We first attempted to clarify the construct and determine domain parameters. This attempt required addressing difficulties associated with pinpointing relevant literature, most notably the varied nomenclature used to refer to ethical judgments (individual evaluations of actions’ ethicality). Given this variation in construct nomenclature and the difficulties it presented in identifying pertinent focal studies, we elected to focus on research that cited papers featuring prominent and often-used measures of (...) ethical judgments (primarily, but not exclusively, the Multidimensional Ethics Scale). Our review of these studies indicated a preponderance of inferences and conclusions unwarranted by empirical evidence (likely attributable at least partly to inconsistent nomenclature). Moreover, ethical judgments related consistently to few respondent characteristics or any other variables, emergent relationships may not always be especially meaningful, and much research seems inclined to repetition of already verified findings. Although we concluded that knowledge about ethical judgments seems not to have advanced appreciably after decades of investigation, we suggested a possible path forward that focuses on the content of what is actually being judged as reflected in the myriad of vignettes used in the literature to elicit judgments. (shrink)
Ethics and associated values influence not only managerial behavior but also managerial success (England and Lee, 1973). Gender socialization theory hypothesizes gender differences in ethics variables whether or not individuals are full time employees; occupational socialization hypothesizes gender similarity in employees. The conflicting hypotheses were investigated using questionnaire responses from a sample of 308 individuals. Analysis of variance and hierarchical regression yielded unexpected results. Although no significant gender differences emerged in individuals lacking full time employment, significant differences existed between employed (...) women and men, with women appearing more ethical. While occupational socialization predicts an interaction between employment status and gender, these group differences were opposite to those predicted. An implication for the two theories and the current conflicting research support is that these commonly used theories may be of limited usefulness. Some alternative concepts are proposed. (shrink)
This study examined whether undergraduate students' perceptions regarding the acceptability of cheating were influenced by the amount of ethics instruction the students had received and/or by their personality. The results, from a sample of 230 upper-level undergraduate students, indicated that simply taking a business ethics course did not have a significant influence on students' views regarding cheating. On the other hand, Machiavellianism was positively related to perceiving that two forms of cheating were acceptable. Moreover, in testing for moderating relationships, the (...) results indicated that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced attitudes varied substantially across individuals. Specifically, taking a course in business ethics did result in students who scored lower on Machiavellianism holding even more negative views regarding certain forms of cheating. In addition, individuals with higher grade point averages (GPAs) who had taken a course in business ethics were also less accepting of certain forms of cheating than individuals with similar GPAs who had not taken the business ethics course. The implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Knowledge about ethical judgments has not advanced appreciably after decades of research. Such research, however, has rarely addressed the possible importance of the content of such judgments; that is, the material appearing in the brief vignettes or scenarios on which survey respondents base their evaluations. Indeed, this content has seemed an afterthought in most investigations. This paper closely examined the vast array of vignettes that have appeared in relevant research in an effort to reduce this proliferation to a more concise (...) set of overarching vignette themes. Six generic themes emerged from this process, labeled here as Dilemma, Classic, Conspiracy, Sophie’s Choice, Runaway Trolley, and Whistle Blowing. Each of these themes is characterized by a unique combination of four key factors that include the extent of protagonist personal benefit from relevant vignette activities and victim salience in vignette descriptions. Theme identification enabled inherent ambiguities in vignettes that threaten construct validity to come into sharp focus, provided clues regarding appropriate vignette construction, and may help to make sense of patterns of empirical findings that heretofore have seemed difficult to explain. (shrink)
This study examined some ethical implications of two different individual competitive orientations. Winning is crucially important in hypercompetitiveness , whereas a personal development (PD) perspective considers competition as a means to self-discovery and self-improvement. In a sample of 263 senior-level undergraduate business students, survey results suggested that hypercompetitiveness was generally associated with “poor ethics” and PD competitiveness was linked with “high ethics”. For example, hypercompetitive individuals generally saw nothing wrong with self-interested gain at the expense of others, but PD competitors (...) viewed such activities as largely inappropriate. Hypercompetitive people also tended to be highly Machiavellian but not ethically idealistic. In contrast, PD competitors tended to be ethically idealistic but not Machiavellian. Managers that are interested in both high ethics and high functioning work groups may wish to consider the potential importance of attempting to channel hypercompetitive tendencies into PD directions. (shrink)
Jones (1990) described ten workplace behaviors of a dubious ethical nature and determined that the hierarchical position adopted by respondents influenced the perceived acceptability of these behaviors. This measure seems promising, and therefore the purpose of this investigation is two-fold: (1) to explore further the psychometric properties of these ten items; and (2) to examine the role of individual difference variables as correlates of perceived acceptability. In two samples of working people, the Jones items were found to be internally consistent, (...) not obviously subject to range restriction, modestly related to social desirability, largely orthogonal to age and managerial status, but clearly linked with Machiavellianism. The nature of the linkage between perceived acceptability and both sex and the Protestant work ethic differed across the two studies, which underscores the need for future research. Two additional variables worth investigating in such research may be locus of control and equity sensitivity. (shrink)
Individuals who disagree that organizational interests legitimately supersede those of the wider society may experience conflict between their personal standards of ethics and those demanded by an employing organization, a conflict that is well documented. An additional question is whether or not individuals capable of complex moral reasoning experience greater conflict than those reasoning at a less developed level. This question was first positioned in a theoretical framework and then investigated using 115 survey responses from a student sample. Correlational analysis (...) and hierarchical regression indicated that individuals scoring high on the Defining Issues Test measure of Kohlberg's stages of moral development experienced significantly greater workplace ethical conflict than low scorers. The finding that complex moral reasoners perceive greater conflict between their personal standards and typical organizational demands raises the issue of what reasoning orientation is rewarded in organizations. Individuals capable of complex moral reasoning may be likely to leave traditional organizations due to high conflict but more ethically friendly organizations for complex reasoners seem unlikely unless these people occupy influential positions. (shrink)
The construct of cognitive moral development seemingly has powerful practical relevance in many areas of life. Nonetheless, moral reasoning seems of marginal relevance at best in the context of business ethics. Simply put, moral reasoning measurement indices are often only weakly related to many other apparently pertinent variables, and such findings cast doubt upon the construct validity of cognitive moral development. Many such unexpectedly weak relationships, however, may stem from two largely unrecognized methodological artifacts. The first artifact is an almost (...) total reliance on the P index of the Defining Issues Test (DIT) designed to assess moral development even when this index may be inappropriate in a particular context. A second artifact that seems particularly salient in the context of attitudes toward authority involves a not always appropriate reliance on samples that include respondents whose moral reasoning is uncoupled from their action choices. These artifacts may restrict the amount of variance explained in observed relationships, and thus constrain the potential for moral reasoning to understand and explain behavior and attitudes relevant in the context of business ethics. Researchers are urged to use DIT D scores (in addition to P scores) in specific situations, and to examine relationships among high DIT U scorers whose moral reasoning is tightly coupled with their action choices. The application of these guidelines may have profound implications for advancing our fundamental understanding of moral reasoning, and of increasing its relevance to business ethics. (shrink)
Two contrasting types of individuals were each predicted to agree, for different reasons, that conventional ethical standards of society need not be upheld if organizational interests appear to demand otherwise. The hypotheses were investigated using questionnaire responses from two samples (employed and student, total N=308). Clear support was obtained for the prediction that individuals inclined toward self-interest and behavior counter to conventional standards would agree with the preceding position. Partial support was obtained for the hypothesis that individuals who simply feel (...) obligated to support an employing organization would also agree. While the latter's perspective may be somewhat narrow or perhaps even cynical, they do not seem to reflect the self-interest profile of the first group. This study also extends the groundbreaking work of Froelich and Kottke by exploring individual difference correlates of their promising ethics scale assessing the extent of agreement that organizational interests legitimately supersede more conventional ethical standards. (shrink)
Moral reasoning typically relates unexpectedly weakly with both Machiavellianism and authoritarianism. Although researchers often explain this by pointing to apparent shortcomings in both the construct and the measure of moral reasoning, such explanations are questionable given the many instances of support for hypotheses involving moral reasoning using the same construct and measure. As these latter cannot only sometimes be flawed, we explored the possible influence of moral reasoning index choice on observed results by using multiple indices available in the Defining (...) Issues Test. In a sample of 201 employed persons surveyed in 1998, with results reported for the first time, advanced moral reasoners tended to be neither Machiavellian nor authoritarian. However, the specific moral reasoning index employed was critical to detecting these hypothesized inverse relationships. Specifically, we proposed that currently unavailable D scores would be the relevant index for examining inverse relationships with Machiavellianism and that P scores would be most appropriate in the context of inverse relationships with authoritarianism, particularly among persons inclined to utilize their characteristic moral reasoning. We extrapolate the conceptual logic underpinning such relationships, and suggest that appropriate index choice flows from this logic and is essential to hypothesis testing across a broad array of constructs. Future research could adopt this logic to examine relationships involving constructs with implications similar to those found in Machiavellianism and authoritarianism. (shrink)
In an article published recently in theJournal of Business Ethics, Vitellet al. (1991) found that elderly respondents scored surprisingly high on a measure of Machiavellianism. This paper offers an alternative explanation for this unexpected result — it may be an artifact of the survey format employed — and recommends additional research to help clarify the issues raised by Vitell and his colleagues.
As is pointed out in an excellent introduction, this translation of Peter of Spain's work on syncategorematic terms and the accompanying treatises on Obligations, Insoluables, and Consequences provide important additions to a steadily increasing body of sources upon which an as-yet-unwritten adequate history of medieval logic will be based. As an interesting and helpful guide, the introduction provides modern symbolic translations of the logical rules verbally formulated by the original authors.—E. A. R.
-/- Background: Nurses who provide aggressive care often experience the ethical challenge of needing to preserve the hope of seriously ill patients and their families without providing false hope. -/- Research objectives: The purpose of this inquiry was to explore nurses’ moral competence related to fostering hope in patients and their families within the context of aggressive technological care. A secondary purpose was to understand how this competence is shaped by the social–moral space of nurses’ work in order to capture (...) how competencies may reflect an adaptation to a less than ideal work environment. -/- Research design: A critical qualitative approach was used. -/- Participants: Fifteen graduate nursing students from various practice areas participated. -/- Ethical considerations: After receiving ethics approval from the university, signed informed consent was obtained from participants before they were interviewed. -/- Findings: One overarching theme ‘Mediating the tension between providing false hope and destroying hope within biomedicine’ along with three subthemes, including ‘Reimagining hopeful possibilities’, ‘Exercising caution within the social–moral space of nursing’ and ‘Maintaining nurses’ own hope’, was identified, which represents specific aspects of this moral competency. -/- Discussion: This competency represents a complex, nuanced and multi-layered set of skills in which nurses must be well attuned to the needs and emotions of their patients and families, have the foresight to imagine possible future hopes, be able to acknowledge death, have advanced interpersonal skills, maintain their own hope and ideally have the capacity to challenge those around them when the provision of aggressive care is a form of providing false hope. -/- Conclusion: The articulation of moral competencies may support the development of nursing ethics curricula to prepare future nurses in a way that is sensitive to the characteristics of actual practice settings. (shrink)
The role of Scripture as norm is growing significantly in Catholic theological work. But with that growth the problems of its relation to other norms become clearer and more urgent as the agenda for systematic theology.
In 1929 Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Davos, Switzerland, which is widely held to have marked an important division in twentieth-century European thought. Peter E. Gordon’s recent book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate, the issues that distinguished the respective positions of Cassirer and Heidegger, and the legacy of the debate for later decades. Throughout the (...) work, Gordon concisely portrays the source of disagreement between the two adversaries in terms of a difference between Cassirer’s philosophy of spontaneity and Heidegger’s philosophy of receptivity, or of “thrownness” , into a situation that finite human beings can never hope to master. Although it recognizes that this work provides an important contribution to our understanding of the Davos debate and to twentieth-century European thought, this review essay subjects Gordon’s manner of interpreting the distinction between Cassirer and Heidegger to critical scrutiny. Its purpose is to examine the possibility that important aspects of the debate, which do not conform to the grid imposed by Gordon’s interpretation, might have been set aside in the context of his analysis. (shrink)
This essay is a response to Peter E. Vedder's Fall 2007 review of the authors' book, Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics. Vedder argues that the authors 1) have a Kantian notion of self-directedness, and 2) are inconsistent in the application of their philosophical anthropology to their view of political liberty. In denying both claims, the authors assert that Vedder both fails to define certain terms and holds them to positions they do not accept.
Galen’s Commentaries on the Hippocratic Epidemics constitute one of the most detailed studies of Hippocratic medicine from Antiquity. The Arabic translation of the Commentaries by Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq is of crucial importance because it preserves large sections now lost in Greek, and because it helped to establish an Arabic clinical literature. The present contribution investigate the translation of this seminal work into Syriac and Arabic. It provides a first survey of the manuscript tradition, and explores how physicians in the medieval (...) Muslim world drew on it both to teach medicine to students, and to develop a framework for their own clinical research. (shrink)
Este artigo tematiza o apóstolo Pedro como personagem no evangelho de Mateus. O objetivo é identificar as nuances e transformações do personagem Pedro no evangelho. Para tanto, tomo como ponto de partida a pertença do evangelho ao gênero literário biografia greco-romana, que apresenta Jesus Cristo como protagonista. Os demais personagens são desenvolvidos em relação com ele. O mesmo se dá com o apóstolo Pedro. O texto se desenvolve a partir da teoria narrativa, de modo particular a caracterização de personagens. Identifico, (...) a partir de Erich Auerbach e Robert Alter, as características de personagens bíblicos, tecendo comparações com teorias do personagem no romance moderno. A análise de textos do evangelho de Mateus que retratam o personagem Pedro leva à conclusão que suas principais características são a complexidade e a inversão. Elas produzem uma visão geral da involução do personagem na narrativa do evangelho de Mateus. Palavras-chave: Pedro. Evangelho de Mateus. Teoria narrativa. Complexidade. Inversão.This article focuses on the apostle Peter as a character in the Gospel of Matthew. It aims at identifying the nuances and changes of the character Peter in the Gospel. For this purpose, I take as a starting point that the gospel belongs to the literary genre of ancient Greco-Roman Biography, which presents Jesus Christ as the protagonist. The other characters are developed in relationship with him. The same is true with the Apostle Peter. The article unfolds from narrative theory, in particular the categorization of characters. I categorize, based on Erich Auerbach and Robert Alter, the features of biblical characters, developing comparisons with theories of the character in the modern novel. The analysis of the main texts from the Gospel of Matthew that portray the character Peter leads to the conclusion that its main features are complexity and inversion. They produce an overview of the involution of the character in the narrative of the Gospel of Matthew. Key words: Peter. Gospel of Matthew. Narrative theory. Complexity. Inversion. (shrink)
Em "Teoria da vanguarda", de Peter Bürger, o choque é compreendido como o artifício intencional dos movimentos de vanguarda contra a autonomia do esteticismo modernista, a fim de devolver a arte à práxis vital. Adotando uma perspectiva distinta, o choque, para Adorno, expõe antes a crise da experiência da formalização do tempo decorrente da incongruência entre as forças produtivas e as relações de produção na sociedade industrial, sendo que dois caminhos artísticos distintos derivam da inflexão histórica da crise da (...) experiência. Em Schoenberg, na esteira do que Bürger classificaria como esteticismo, o choque seria amortizado pela expansão da linguagem musical, mediante seu registro. Em Stravinsky, o procedimento mecânico de golpes rítmicos e de montagem, em consonância com a profusão de vivências do choque, surge como elemento regressivo. Os choques não seriam dispositivos críticos, mas sismogramas de reações às mudanças da consciência subjetiva do tempo na modernidade. O artigo procura enfatizar as premissas conflitantes entre Bürger e Adorno quanto à posição do conceito de choque, assim como as críticas de Bürger ao modernismo adorniano. In Peter Bürger's "Theory of the avant-garde", the concept of shock is rendered as an intentional avant-garde procedure against the institutionalization of art, i.e., against the autonomous criteria of modernist aestheticism, with the purpose of bringing art back to everyday life and vital praxis. From a quite different materialistic perspective, the concept of shock, in Adorno's musical writings, exposes the crisis of experience (Erfahrung) of the dissociation of time within two major streams of modern music, namely Schoenberg's school and Stravinsky's. This paper aims to point out the conflicting assumptions and consequences between Adorno and Bürger regarding their respective theoretical grasps on the concept of shock, as well as the critique to Adorno's musical modernism that Bürger addresses in this book. (shrink)
O presente texto discute a tentativa de Peter Singer, no artigo The Objectivity of Ethics and the Unity of Practical Reason, de encontrar um principio normativo objetivo. Singer considera o Axioma da Benevolência Universal capaz de passar pelos três critérios de credibilidade exigidos para que intuições racionais possam ser aceitas como verdades morais. E chega a conclusão de que: 1) é possível ter “convicção” em sua evidência; 2) versões do Axioma foram propostas por pensadores independentes de diferentes épocas e (...) tradições; 3) o Axioma não pode ser explicado como o resultado de um processo evolutivo ou qualquer outro processo que não seja a busca da verdade. Assim, para Singer, o Axioma é um princípio normativo objetivo. (shrink)
The Anglophone reception of the work of T. W. Adorno has yet to succeed in making him a major part of mainstream philosophical debate. Among the reasons for this are the refusal of too many analytic philosophers to consider alternative approaches to philosophy, and Adorno's writing style, which does not always offer direct points of access for other philosophical traditions. Things are also not helped by the fact that writers on Adorno can tend to adopt some of his mode of (...) writing, on the basis of the claim that Adorno's esoteric style is part of the content of his writing. However, Adorno's lectures on the topics of his major books are actually often remarkably lucid, offering ways of bringing him into almost any... (shrink)