This paper deploys Alasdair MacIntyre’s Aristotelian virtue ethics, in which meaningfulness is understood to supervene on human functioning, to bring empirical and ethical accounts of meaningful work into dialogue. Whereas empirical accounts have presented the experience of meaningful work either in terms of agents’ orientation to work or as intrinsic to certain types of work, ethical accounts have largely assumed the latter formulation and subjected it to considerations of distributive justice. This paper critiques both the empirical and ethical literatures from (...) the standpoint of MacIntyre’s account of the relationship between the development of virtuous dispositions and participation in work that is productive of goods internal to practices. This reframing suggests new directions for empirical and ethical enquiries. (shrink)
Professor Narveson's comments about my papers on equality are both penetrating and comprehensive. I cannot hope to discuss all the issues he raises in any detail. But there is a special problem: his main question is about what I have not said. He asks how I might defend equality of resources other than simply by describing a version of it, and of course this question will require some extended discussion. But he is right to say that this is his most (...) important question, and I should hate to lose the opportunity of encouraging discussion of it. So I shall begin with some general remarks about the defence of the idea of equality and then take up, in a very hasty and summary way, the other problems he discusses or raises. Please allow me, however, this apology and caution. I know that what I shall say about the defense of equality is at many points dogmatic and at others unmindful of very natural objections and replies. I want to answer Narveson only by showing in a rough and general way how far I think a defense of equality is possible, what kind of defense this can be, and what form it should take. (shrink)
The word "truth" retains, in common use, traces of origins that link it to trust, troth, and truce, connoting ideas of fidelity, loyalty, and authenticity. The word has become, in contemporary philosophy, encased in a web of technicalities, but we know that a true image is a faithful portrait; a true friend a loyal one. In a novel or a poem, too, we have a feel for what is emotionally true, though we are not concerned with the actuality of events (...) and characters depicted. To have emotions is to care about certain things: we can wonder whether those things are really worth caring about. We can wonder whether our passions reflect who we are, and whether they constitute fitting responses to the vicissitudes of life. So there are two aspects to emotional truth: how well an emotion reflects the threats and promises of the world, and how well it reflects our own individual nature. That is the starting point of this book, which looks first at the analogies and disanalogies between strict propositional truth and a looser, "generic" sense of truth. As applied to emotions, generic truth is closer to those original meanings: as in a portrait's fidelity or friend's loyalty. Taken in this sense, the notion of emotional truth opens up large vistas on areas of life essential to our existence as social beings, and to our concerns with beauty, morality, love, death, sex, knowledge, desire, coherence, and happiness. Each of those topics illustrates some facet of the dominant theme of the book: the crucial but often ambivalent role of our emotions in grounding and yet also sometimes undermining our values. Emotions act, in holistic perspective, as ultimate arbiters of values where different and independently justified standards of value compete. (shrink)
Very often moral disagreements can be resolved by appealing to factual considerations because in these cases the parties to the dispute agree as to which factual considerations are relevant. They agree, that is, with respect to their basic moral standards. Hence, when their disagreement about the non-moral facts is resolved, so is their moral disagreement. But sometimes moral disagreement persists in spite of agreement on factual considerations. When this happens, and when neither party is guilty of illogical thinking, we have (...) a case of moral deadlock. (shrink)
In some recent theological writing, imagination is presented as a power of the mind with crucial importance for religion, but one whose role has often suffered neglect. Its fuller acknowledgment has become a live issue today. ‘Theologians’, wrote Professor J. P. Mackey, ‘have recently taken to symbol and metaphor, poetry and story, with an enthusiasm which contrasts very strikingly with their all-but-recent avoidance of such matters’ . As well as relevant writings by Eliade and Ricoeur, there have been treatments of (...) religious imagination by Professor John Mclntyre in his Faith, Theology and Imagination and in J. P. Mackey's composite volume entitled Religious Imagination. (shrink)
I shall mean by ‘cosmic imagination’, first, the mental appropriating of objects, events, processes or patterns perceived in nature-atlarge , so as to apply them in articulating our own scheme of values , and in our quest for self-understanding. I shall apply the phrase also to the synthesising activity of the mind in our appraising of items in wider nature itself or as a whole – whether we believe nature to have no value save what we choose to confer or (...) project on it, or take it to have a value that sets limits on our appropriation, benign or exploitative. (shrink)
It has long been recognized that Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling is a cryptogram. Encoded within a series of reflections and commentaries on Genesis 22 is a deeper message directed at a reader or readers presumably capable of deciphering the hidden meaning. That this is true is suggested by the book's epigraph: ‘What Tarquinius Superbus said in the garden by means of the poppies, the son understood but the messenger did not.’.
In the second of his three prefaces to On Authority and Revelation , Kierkegaard writes: ‘“My reader”, may I simply beg you to read this book, for it is important for my main effort, wherefore I am minded to recommend it’ The question I will put to myself to begin my reflections on the book is: why should Kierkegaard recommend it so strongly? What is Kierkegaard doing in this book? One notices in his recommendation that it is addressed to his (...) reader who, presumably, is not simply the reader of this book but the reader of his other books as well. The Concluding UnscientUc Postscript was being published about the same time , and so the reader may well have been familiar with most of Kierkegaard's main philosophical works. The recommendation then is set in this context. The book is, on the face of it, so unlike the other works, concerned with certain odd claims to a revelation by a Danish pastor named Adler. Much of the book discusses the details of a deposition of Adler given to the local bishop and some details of later defences which Adler gave of his revelation in several works and sermons. It appears to be a local squabble of no general interest and certainly not the sort of thing that had occupied Kierkegaard's philosophical attention to this point. The book, then, stands in need of a recommendation to Kierkegaard's reader who is not otherwise prepared for this genre. But the recommendation does not say, ‘Try this, though quite different, you may like it.’ It says rather that the reader should read it, and later he adds read it carefully, because it is ‘important for my main effort’. So the book is to be seen as of a piece with the other main works of Kierkegaard. This is what I should like to understand in the following discussion: how is this book important for Kierkegaard's main effort? (shrink)
What can be learned from a small scale study of managerial work in a highly marginal and under-researched working community? This article uses the ‘goods–virtues–practices–institutions’ framework to examine the managerial work of owner–directors of traditional circuses. Inspired by MacIntyre’s arguments for the necessity of a narrative understanding of the virtues, interviews explored how British and Irish circus directors accounted for their working lives. A purposive sample was used to select subjects who had owned and managed traditional touring circuses for at (...) least 15 years, a period in which the economic and reputational fortunes of traditional circuses have suffered badly. This sample enabled the research to examine the self-understanding of people who had, at least on the face of it, exhibited the virtue of constancy. The research contributes to our understanding of the role of the virtues in organizations by presenting evidence of an intimate relationship between the virtue of constancy and a ‘calling’ work orientation. This enhances our understanding of the virtues that are required if management is exercised as a domain-related practice. (shrink)
ABSTRACTFinance may suffer from institutional deformations that subordinate its distinctive goods to the pursuit of external goods, but this should encourage attempts to reform the institutionalization of finance rather than to reject its potential for virtuous business activity. This article argues that finance should be regarded as a domain-relative practice. Alongside management, its moral status thereby varies with the purposes it serves. Hence, when practitioners working in finance facilitate projects that create common goods, it allows them to develop virtues. This (...) argument applies MacIntyre’s widely acknowledged account of the relationship between practices and the development of virtues while questioning some of his claims about finance. It also takes issue with extant accounts of particular financial functions that have failed to identify the distinctive goods of financial practice. (shrink)
Many people assume that the claims of scientists are objective truths. But historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science have long argued that scientific claims reflect the particular historical, cultural, and social context in which those claims were made. The nature of scientific knowledge is not absolute because it is influenced by the practice and perspective of human agents. Scientific Perspectivism argues that the acts of observing and theorizing are both perspectival, and this nature makes scientific knowledge contingent, as Thomas Kuhn (...) theorized forty years ago. Using the example of color vision in humans to illustrate how his theory of “perspectivism” works, Ronald N. Giere argues that colors do not actually exist in objects; rather, color is the result of an interaction between aspects of the world and the human visual system. Giere extends this argument into a general interpretation of human perception and, more controversially, to scientific observation, conjecturing that the output of scientific instruments is perspectival. Furthermore, complex scientific principles—such as Maxwell’s equations describing the behavior of both the electric and magnetic fields—make no claims about the world, but models based on those principles can be used to make claims about specific aspects of the world. Offering a solution to the most contentious debate in the philosophy of science over the past thirty years, Scientific Perspectivism will be of interest to anyone involved in the study of science. (shrink)
In this reprint of Law's Empire,Ronald Dworkin reflects on the nature of the law, its given authority, its application in democracy, the prominent role of interpretation in judgement, and the relations of lawmakers and lawgivers to the community on whose behalf they pronounce. For that community, Law's Empire provides a judicious and coherent introduction to the place of law in our lives.Previously Published by Harper Collins. Reprinted by Hart Publishing.
A recent paper by David Levy focuses on “utility enhancing consumption constraints.” Levy concludes by noting that his analysis stays within standard utility maximizing theory, in contrast to my analysis of rule-governed behavior which allows imperfect decisions that don't always maximize utility. I wish to show how our two theories can be integrated, thereby representing complementary, rather than conflicting, explanations. In the process, I argue that imperfect decisions are an essential factor in the stability of any rule that constrains freedom (...) of choice. I also briefly discuss certain intrinsic problems with achieving “self-stabilizing” rules applied to moral teachings. (shrink)
This paper has a twofold structure: both parts concern philosophy's understanding of its data—in the area of aesthetics. The first part considers aesthetics as philosophy of art: the second part considers aesthetics as concerned also with the appreciation of nature.
Debate over the nature of science has recently moved from the halls of academia into the public sphere, where it has taken shape as the "science wars." At issue is the question of whether scientific knowledge is objective and universal or socially mediated, whether scientific truths are independent of human values and beliefs. Ronald Giere is a philosopher of science who has been at the forefront of this debate from its inception, and Science without Laws offers a much-needed mediating (...) perspective on an increasingly volatile line of inquiry. Giere does not question the major findings of modern science: for example, that the universe is expanding or that inheritance is carried by DNA molecules with a double helical structure. But like many critics of modern science, he rejects the widespread notion of science--deriving ultimately from the Enlightenment--as a uniquely rational activity leading to the discovery of universal truths underlying all natural phenomena. In these highly readable essays, Giere argues that it is better to understand scientists as merely constructing more or less abstract models of limited aspects of the world. Such an understanding makes possible a resolution of the issues at stake in the science wars. The critics of science are seen to be correct in rejecting the Enlightenment idea of science, and its defenders are seen to be correct in insisting that science does produce genuine knowledge of the natural world. Giere is utterly persuasive in arguing that to criticize the Enlightenment ideal is not to criticize science itself, and that to defend science one need not defend the Enlightenment ideal. Science without Laws thus stakes out a middle ground in these debates by showing us how science can be better conceived in other ways. (shrink)
It has been claimed that ‘virtuous structures’ can foster moral agency in organisations. We investigate this in the context of employee involvement in corporate philanthropy, an activity whose moral status has been disputed. Employing Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of moral agency, we analyse the results of eight focus groups with employees engaged in corporate philanthropy in an employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership. Within this organisational context, Employee–Partners’ moral agency was evidenced in narrative accounts of their engagement in philanthropic activities and (...) in their disputes about the moral status of corporate philanthropy. (shrink)
In a series of papers Geoff Moore has applied Alasdair MacIntyre’s much cited work to generate a virtue-based business ethics. Central to this pro ject is Moore’s argument that business falls under MacIntyre’s concept of ‘practice’. This move attempts to overcome MacIntyre’s reputation for being ‘anti-business’ while maintaining his framework for evaluating social action and replaces MacIntyre’s hostility to management with a conception of managers as institutional practitioners . I argue however that this move has not been justified. Given the (...) importance MacIntyre places on the protection of practices, the result is that much of Moore’s contribution is misplaced. Business cannot name a practice but business institutions certainly do house practices. The task then is to try to understand the circumstances under which practices might flourish and those under which they might founder in a business context. This is not aided by Moore’s redescription of all businesses as practices. (shrink)
In 1993, Professor of Jurisprudence, Ronald Dworkin of Oxford University and Professor of Law at New York University, delivered the Georgetown Law Center’s thirteenth Annual Philip A. Hart Memorial Lecture: "Life’s Dominion: An Argument About Abortion and Euthanasia." Dworkin is Professor of Philosophy and Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law at New York University. He received B.A. degrees from both Harvard College and Oxford University, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Learned Hand. He was (...) associated with a law firm in New York (Sullivan and Cromwell) and was a professor of law at Yale University Law School from 1962-1969. He has been Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford and Fellow of University College since 1969. He has a joint appointment at Oxford and at NYU where he is a professor both in the Law School and the Philosophy Department. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Dworkin is the author of many articles in philosophical and legal journals as well as articles on legal and political topics in the New York Review of Books. He has written Taking Rights Seriously (1977), A Matter of Principle (1985), Law’s Empire (1986), Philosophical Issues in Senile Dementia (1987), A Bill of Rights for Britain (1990), Life’s Dominion (1993), and Freedom’s Law (1996). (shrink)
From the very outset of his literary and intellectual career Rousseau saw himself as an uncompromising critic of contemporary society. As he has vividly related in his personal writings, the famous moment of ‘illumination’ when he was on the way to visit his friend Diderot imprisoned in the Chateau de Vincennes not only gave him a vision of ‘another universe’ but transformed him into ‘another man’. An overwhelming ‘enthusiasm for truth, freedom and virtue’ made him henceforth reject the corrupt values (...) of the society he saw around him; ‘to be free and virtuous and above fortune and opinion’ seemed a greater and nobler attitude than servile acquiescence in the ‘maxims of his age’. (shrink)
This paper introduces ‘Virtue and Virtuousness: When will the twain ever meet?’ a special edition of Business Ethics: A European Review. The Call for Papers invited contributions that could inform the relationship between organisational virtuousness, as conceptualised by positive organisation studies, and the classical conception of virtues pertaining to individual women and men. While the resources of particular virtue traditions – Aristotelian, Catholic, Confucian, and the like – could inform their own debates as to whether virtue extends beyond individuals, the (...) debate between virtue traditions and positive organisation studies has a different dimension. The question is whether the claims of positive social sciences as such are compatible with those of any virtue tradition. We argue that positive social science and virtue traditions are indeed rivals such that adherence to the claims of the one precludes adherence to the other. Resolution to such conflicts requires that one tradition is able to resolve questions that exhaust the resources of the other. This paper suggests that at least one area of incoherence in the findings of positive social sciences can be resolved by virtue traditions, and introduces the remaining papers in the special edition. (shrink)
This paper considers the resources MacIntyre provides for undertaking empirical work using his goods-virtues-practices-institutions framework alongside the attendant challenges of doing such work. It focuses on methods that might be employed in judging the extent to which observed social arrangements mayconform to the standards required by a practice-embodying institution. It concludes by presenting the outline of an empirical project exploring at a music facility in the North East of England, The Sage Gateshead.
This paper considers discussions of the work of Alasdair MacIntyre in management literature. It argues that management scholars who have attempted to appropriate his After Virtue as a supportive text for conventional business ethics do so only by misreading or by ignoring his other work. It shows that MacIntyre does not argue for a reformed capitalism in which individual virtue overcomes institutional vice. Rather he argues that capitalist businesses are inherently vicious and that therefore individual virtue cannot be realised within (...) them. The job of the virtuous is to resist them.The paper first presents an account of MacIntyre’s position on management and introduces some of the critical and supportive uses of his work in management scholarship. It focuses on two papers typical of the approach taken by conventional business ethicists to his work. These have attempted to deploy concepts developed by MacIntyre while denying the account of management and organisation of which they form a part.The paper provides some tentative hypotheses as to why management scholars have approached MacIntyre in this way. It argues that these attempted appropriations not only have failed but also must fail as conceptual coherence is sacrificed when the account within which those concepts make sense is denied. (shrink)
Aristotle's De Anima is the first systematic philosophical account of the soul, which serves to explain the functioning of all mortal living things. In his commentary, Ronald Polansky argues that the work is far more structured and systematic than previously supposed. He contends that Aristotle seeks a comprehensive understanding of the soul and its faculties. By closely tracing the unfolding of the many-layered argumentation and the way Aristotle fits his inquiry meticulously within his scheme of the sciences, Polansky answers (...) questions relating to the general definition of soul and the treatment of each of the soul's principal capacities: nutrition, sense perception, phantasia, intellect, and locomotion. The commentary sheds light on every section of the De Anima and the work as a unit. It offers a challenge to earlier and current interpretations of the relevance and meaning of Aristotle's highly influential treatise. (shrink)
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity has a copyright on the body of the work. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and (...) made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)