When we design information technology we risk building specific metaphors and models of human activities into the technology itself and into the embodied activities, work practices, organisational cultures and social identities of those who use it. This paper is motivated by the recognition that the assumptions about human activity used to guide the design of particular technology are made active, in use, by the interaction design of that technology. A fragment of shared design work is used to ground an exploration (...) of different solutions to one of the technical problems that arise when technology is used to support similar work over distance. The argument is made that some solutions to design problems are better than others because they enable human interaction in different ways. Some solutions enhance the possibilities for human agency, others diminish it. This means that there can be a moral basis for choosing between alternative interaction design decisions that might otherwise be considered equivalent in terms of the functionality and usability of the technology. (shrink)
Mountaineering is a dangerous activity. For many mountaineers, part of its very attraction is the risk, the thrill of danger. Yet mountaineers are often regarded as reckless or even irresponsible for risking their lives. In this paper, we offer a defence of risk-taking in mountaineering. Our discussion is organised around the fact that mountaineers and non-mountaineers often disagree about how risky mountaineering really is. We hope to cast some light on the nature of this disagreement – and to argue that (...) mountaineering may actually be worthwhile because of the risks it involves. Section 1 introduces the disagreement and, in doing so, separates out several different notions of risk. Sections 2–4 then consider some explanations of the disagreement, showing how a variety of phenomena can skew people's risk judgements. Section 5 then surveys some recent statistics, to see whether these illuminate how risky mountaineering is. In light of these considerations, however, we suggest that the disagreement is best framed not simply in terms of how risky mountaineering is but whether the risks it does involve are justified. The remainder of the paper, sections 6–9, argues that risk-taking in mountaineering often is justified – and, moreover, that mountaineering can itself be justified by and because of the risks it involves. (shrink)
First published in 1905, this reissued edition of The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon is an edited collection based upon the definitive seven volume edition of 1857, translated and prefaced by Robert Leslie Ellis and James Spedding. Of great historical, philosophical and scientific interest, this collection brings together translations of Bacon’s most important works, including the Novum Organum , the De Augmentis Scientarium , the Parasceve , and the De Principiis atque Originibus, as well as works originally written in English, (...) such as the Valerius Terminus and the Filum Labyrinthi . The reissue offers a comprehensive and provocative collection of the key writings of the man we now consider to be the father of Empiricism who popularised inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry. All works include prefaces by Robert Leslie Ellis and James Spedding, and the collection includes an introductory note from the editor John M. Robertson. (shrink)
forthcoming in M. McNamee (ed) Philosophy, Risk and Adventure Sports, Routledge The final draft of a co-authored article with Simon Robertson (Leeds). In this paper we examine a recent version of an old controversy within climbing ethics. Our organising topic is the ‘bolting’….
Standard models of cognition are built from abstract, amodal, arbitrary symbols, and the meanings of those symbols are given solely by their interrelations. The target article (Glenberg 1997t) argues that these models must be inadequate because meaning cannot arise from relations among abstract symbols. For cognitive representations to be meaningful they must, at the least, be grounded; but abstract symbols are difficult, if not impossible, to ground. As an alternative, the target article developed a framework in which representations are grounded (...) in perception and action, and hence are embodied. Recent work (Glenberg & Robertson 1999; 2000; Glenberg & Kaschak 2002; Kaschak & Glenberg 2000) extends this framework to language. (shrink)
. In Moderating the Debate: Rationality and the Promise of American Education, Michael Feuer argues that insights from cognitive science and the theory of bounded rationality can help us understand why educational policy makers overreach in seeking optimal solutions to educational problems. In this essay, Emily Robertson argues that cognitive science is of limited help for two reasons. First, since the findings of the theory of bounded rationality are supposed to describe how we actually do make decisions under conditions (...) of uncertainty, it is unclear how those findings can help us explain why educational policy makers have apparently used different decision‐making strategies. Second, the idea that educational reform can be set right by being made the province of more fully rational policy makers neglects the public, value dimension of education, and thus obscures some of the true sources of overpromising. (shrink)
Robertson, Geoffrey CAHS is delighted to announce that the Australian Humanist of the Year for 2014 is Geoffrey Robertson QC. He is a human rights barrister, academic, author and broadcaster and holds dual Australian and British citizenship.
A foundational moment in the history of modern European thought, the Enlightenment continues to be a reference point for philosophers, scholars and opinion-formers. To many it remains the inspiration of our commitments to the betterment of the human condition. To others, it represents the elevation of one set of European values to the world, many of whose peoples have quite different values. But what is the relationship between the historical Enlightenment and the idea of 'Enlightenment', and can these two understandings (...) be reconciled?In this Very Short Introduction, John Robertson offers a concise historical introduction to the Enlightenment as an intellectual movement of eighteenth-century Europe. Discussing its intellectual achievements, he also explores how its supporters exploited new ways of communicating their ideas to a wider public, creating a new 'public sphere' for critical discussion of the moral, economic and political issues facing their societies.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. (shrink)
In this Very Short Introduction, Ritchie Robertson provides the newcomer with an up-to-date and accessible examination of this fascinating author. Beginning with an examination of Kafka's life, he then goes on to discuss some of the major themes that emerge in Kafka's work, using his short story Metamorphosis as a recurring example.
Robertson's earlier work, The New Renaissance projected the likely future impact of computers in changing our culture. Phase Change builds on and deepens his assessment of the role of the computer as a tool driving profound change by examining the role of computers in changing the face of the sciences and mathematics. He shows that paradigm shifts in understanding in science have generally been triggered by the availability of new tools, allowing the investigator a new way of seeing into (...) questions that had not earlier been amenable to scientific probing. (shrink)
Fish's writings on philosophy, politics and law comprise numerous books and articles produced over many decades. This book connects those dots in order to reveal the overall structure of his argument and to demonstrate how his work in politics and law flows logically from his philosophical stands on the nature of the self, epistemology and the role of theory. Michael Robertson considers Fish's political critiques of liberalism, critical theory, postmodernism and pragmatism before turning to his observations on political substance (...) and political practice. The detailed analysis of Fish's jurisprudence explores his relationships to legal positivism, legal formalism, legal realism and critical legal studies, as well as his debate with Ronald Dworkin. Gaps and inconsistencies in Fish's arguments are fully explored, and the author provides a description of Fish's own positive account of law and deals with the charge that Fish is an indeterminacy theorist who undermines the rule of law. (shrink)
This groundbreaking new translation of The Interpretation of Dreams is the first to be based on the original text published in November 1899. It restores Freud's original argument, unmodified by revisions he made following the book's critical reception. Reading the first edition reveals Freud's original emphasis on the use of words in dreams and on the difficulty of deciphering them and Joyce Crick captures with far greater immediacy and accuracy than previous translations by Strachey's Freud's emphasis and terminology. An accessible (...) introduction by Ritchie Robertson summarizes and comments on Freud's argument and relates it to his early work. Close annotation explains Freud's many autobiographical, literary and historical allusions and makes this the first edition to present Freud's early work in its full intellectual and cultural context. (shrink)
First published in 1905, this reissued edition of _The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon_ is an edited collection based upon the definitive seven volume edition of 1857, translated and prefaced by Robert Leslie Ellis and James Spedding. Of great historical, philosophical and scientific interest, this collection brings together translations of Bacon’s most important works, including the _Novum Organum_, the _De Augmentis Scientarium_, the _Parasceve_, and the _De Principiis atque Originibus,_ as well as works originally written in English, such as the (...) _Valerius Terminus_ and the_ Filum Labyrinthi_. The reissue offers a comprehensive and provocative collection of the key writings of the man we now consider to be the father of Empiricism who popularised inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry. All works include prefaces by Robert Leslie Ellis and James Spedding, and the collection includes an introductory note from the editor John M. Robertson. (shrink)
From a corporate governance perspective, one of the most important jobs of a firm's top management team is to create and maintain a positive moral environment. Business ethics has long been considered a cornerstone in the field of strategic management and a number of scholars have called for more research in this area over the years. In this paper 658 articles that appeared in "Strategic Management Journal" over the 10-year period between 1996 and 2005 are reviewed for business ethics focus (...) and content. The results reveal that while business ethics research in "Strategic Management Journal" is on the rise, the overall focus on this research stream has been limited. The most prominent ethics theme during the review period was environmentalism, accounting for 30% of all ethics articles. Author affiliations, future research directions, and implications are also discussed. (shrink)
We explore two dimensions of situational factors expected to influence decision-making about ethical issues among sales representatives – universal vs. particular and direct vs. indirect. We argue that these distinctions are important theoretically, methodologically, and managerially. We test our hypotheses by means of a survey of 252 sales representatives. Our results confirm that considering universal and particular and direct and indirect situational factors contributes to our understanding of decision-making about ethical issues within a sales context, specifically willingness to engage in (...) an unethical act. We also find that personal factors act independently and interact with situational factors in decision-making about ethical issues. Both demographic factors, age and gender, and personality factors, Machiavellianism and self-monitoring, have main effects on decision-making, and some of these factors interact with situational factors to affect decision-making. For example, age of the decision-maker (younger) and size of commission (larger) interact such that the likelihood of choosing an unethical alternative is greater. (shrink)
This paper considers future directions of empirical research in business ethics and presents a series of recommendations. Greater emphasis should be placed on the normative basis of empirical studies, behavior (rather than attitudes) should be established as the key dependent variable, theoretical models of ethical decision making should be tested, and empirical studies need to focus on theory-building. Extensions of methodology and the unit of analysis are proposed together with recommendations concerning the need for replication and validity, and building links (...) to managerial and public policy applications. (shrink)
Recent financial fraud legislation such as the Dodd–Frank Act and the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (U.S. House of Representatives, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, [H.R. 4173], 2010 ; U.S. House of Representatives, The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, Public Law 107-204 [H.R. 3763], 2002 ) relies heavily on whistleblowers for enforcement, and offers protection and incentives for whistleblowers. However, little is known about many aspects of the whistleblowing decision, especially the effects of contextual and wrongdoing attributes on organizational (...) members’ willingness to report fraud. We extend the ethics literature by experimentally investigating how the nature of the wrongdoing and the awareness of those surrounding the whistleblower can influence whistleblowing. As predicted, we find that employees are less likely to report: (1) financial statement fraud than theft; (2) immaterial than material financial statement fraud; (3) when the wrongdoer is aware that the potential whistleblower has knowledge of the fraud; and (4) when others in addition to the wrongdoer are not aware of the fraud. Our findings extend whistleblowing research in several ways. For instance, prior research provides little evidence concerning the effects of fraud type, wrongdoer awareness, and others’ awareness on whistleblowing intentions. We also provide evidence that whistleblowing settings represent an exception to the well-accepted theory of diffusion of responsibility. Our participants are professionals who represent the likely pool of potential whistleblowers in organizations. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between national culture and ethical decision making. Established theories of ethics and moral development are reviewed and a culture-based model of ethical decision making in organizations is derived. Although the body of knowledge in both cross-cultural management and ethics is well documented, researchers have failed to integrate the influence of cultural values into the ethical decision-making paradigm. A conceptual understanding of how managers from different nations make decisions about highly ethical (...) issues will provide business ethics researchers with a sound theoretical foundation upon which future empirical inquiry can be based. (shrink)
In this paper we theorize that cognitive ethical orientations play an influential role in the beliefs of consumers when faced with different ranges of moral dilemmas. We examine this proposition in transitional Eastern Europe and results from a sample of 210 Romanian consumers suggest that Romanians are faced with a moral situation where low levels of Machiavellianism and high levels of idealism appear to relate to a higher ethical concern about passively benefiting at the expense of others.
This study examines corporate publications of U.K. firms to investigate the nature of corporate social responsibility disclosure. Using a stakeholder approach to corporate social responsibility, our results suggest a hierarchical model of disclosure: from general rhetoric to specific endeavors to implementation and monitoring. Industry differences in attention to specific stakeholder groups are noted. These differences suggest the need to understand the effects on social responsibility disclosure of factors in a firm's immediate operating environment, such as the extent of government regulation (...) and level of competitiveness in the industry. (shrink)
The distinction between essential versus accidental properties has been characterized in various ways, but it is currently most commonly understood in modal terms: an essential property of an object is a property that it must have, while an accidental property of an object is one that it happens to have but that it could lack. Let’s call this the basic modal characterization, where a modal characterization of a notion is one that explains the notion in terms of necessity/possibility. In the (...) characterization just given of the distinction between essential and accidental properties, the use of the word “must” reflects the fact that necessity is invoked, while the use of the word “could” reflects that possibility is invoked. The notions of necessity and possibility are interdefinable: to say that something is necessary is to say that its negation is not possible; to say that something is possible is to say that its negation is not necessary; to say that an object must have a certain property is to say that it could not lack it; and to say that an object could have a certain property is to say that it is not the case that it must lack it. (shrink)
This study tests the usefulness of a person-situation interactionist framework in examining the willingness of a salesperson to lie to get an order. Using a survey of 389 salespersons, our results demonstrate that organizational relationships influence willingness to lie. Specifically, salespersons are less willing to lie to their own company than to their customer, than to a channel partner, and finally,than to a competitor firm. Furthermore, respondents from firms with a clear and positive ethical climate are less willing to lie. (...) Finally, our study finds that interactions between personality factors, such as high Machiavellianism and high self-monitoring, and situational factors have an impact on willingness to lie. Our results suggest that firms can take steps to influence employee ethical behavior. (shrink)
Managers throughout the world regularly face ethical dilemmas that have important, and perhaps complex, professional and personal implications. Further, societal consequences of decisions made can be far-reaching. In this study, 210 financial services managers from Australia, Chile, Ecuador and the United States were queried about their ethical beliefs when faced with four diverse dilemmas. In addition, the situational context was altered so the respondent viewed each dilemma from a top management position and from a position of economic hardship. Results suggest (...) a complex interaction of situation, culture and issue when individuals make ethical judgments. Specifically, Chileans were found to have different beliefs about sex discrimination and child labor dilemmas when compared to their colleagues from the other three nations. Chileans and Australians also disagreed on the bribery dilemma. Anglo managers were more likely than Latin American managers to change their ethical responses when the situation was altered. For multinational firms interested in maintaining healthy ethical climates, the findings suggest that culturally contingent ethical guidelines, or policies adapted to the local customs, must be considered. Further, managers must remain aware of issues related to specific situations, both internal and external, that would cause subordinates to alter their moral judgment. (shrink)
Efforts to institutionalize ethics in corporations have been discussed without first addressing the desirability of norm conformity or the possibility that the means used to elicit conformity will be coercive. This article presents a theoretical context, grounded in models of social control, within which ethics initiatives may be evaluated. Ethics initiatives are discussed in relation to variables that already exert control in the workplace, such as environmental controls, organizational controls, and personal controls.
Although business ethics has a long history as a core theme within the realm of strategic management it has not received considerable attention in top strategy journals until recently. In this paper, we assess the state of business ethics research published over a 5-year period (2006–2010) in Strategic Management Journal to ascertain whether there has been an increase in business ethics research published in the top strategy outlet. The results of our content analysis reveal that ethics research in SMJ is (...) indeed on the rise yet this research stream is still underrepresented with only 5.8 % of all articles published over the five-year period having an ethics theme. Moreover, the link between Corporate Social Performance and Financial Performance was identified as the top theme during the review period. (shrink)
OBJECTIVES: To study empirically whether ethical theory (from the mainstream principles-based, virtue-based, and feminist schools) usefully describes the approaches doctors and nurses take in everyday patient care. DESIGN: Ethnographic methods: participant observation and interviews, the transcripts of which were analysed to identify themes in ethical approaches. SETTING: A British old-age psychiatry ward. PARTICIPANTS: The more than 20 doctors and nurses on the ward. RESULTS: Doctors and nurses on the ward differed in their conceptions of the principles of beneficence and respect (...) for patient autonomy. Nurses shared with doctors a commitment to liberal and utilitarian conceptions of these principles, but also placed much greater weight on relationships and character virtues when expressing the same principles. Nurses also emphasised patient autonomy, while doctors were more likely to advocate beneficence, when the two principles conflicted. CONCLUSION: The study indicates that ethical theory can, contrary to the charges of certain critics, be relevant to everyday health care-if it (a) attends to social context and (b) is flexible enough to draw on various schools of theory. (shrink)
Illegally downloading music through peer-topeer networks has persisted in spite of legal action to deter the behavior. This study examines the individual characteristics of downloaders which could explain why they are not dissuaded by messages that downloading is illegal. We compared downloaders to non-downloaders and examined whether downloaders were characterized by less ethical concern, engagement in illegal behavior, and a propensity toward stealing a CD from a music store under varying levels of risk. We also examined whether downloading or individual (...) characteristics of downloaders were similar for men and women. Findings revealed downloading was prevalent (74.5% of the student sample downloaded), men and women were equally likely to download and the factors characterizing downloading were similar for men and women. The comparison between downloaders and nondownloaders revealed downloaders were less concerned with the law, demonstrated by less ethical concern and engagement in other illegal behaviors. Downloaders were also more likely to indicate that they would steal a CD when there was no risk of being caught. Given these results, messages regarding illegality are unlikely to perturb downloaders and alternative recommendations are offered for targeting illegal downloading. (shrink)
: Embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to save many lives, must be recovered from aborted fetuses or live embryos. Although tissue from aborted fetuses can be used without moral complicity in the underlying abortion, obtaining stem cells from embryos necessarily kills them, thus raising difficult questions about the use of embryonic human material to save others. This article draws on previous controversies over embryo research and distinctions between intrinsic and symbolic moral status to analyze these issues. It argues (...) that stem cell research with spare embryos produced during infertility treatment, or even embryos created specifically for research or therapeutic purposes, is ethically acceptable and should receive federal funding. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine the case that has been made for origin essentialism and find it wanting. I focus on the arguments of Nathan Salmon and Graeme Forbes. Like most origin essentialists, Salmon and Forbes have been concerned to respect the intuition that slight variation in the origin of an artifact or organism is possible. But, I argue, both of their arguments fail to respect this intuition. Salmon's argument depends on a sufficiency principle for cross-world identity, which should be (...) rejected, if - as Salmon concedes - a given artifact might have been originally made from slightly different material. Similarly, Forbes's argument succeeds only if essentially the same argument can be used to establish a claim that - by his own admission - is too strong, namely that no variation, however slight, in an organism's origin is possible. (shrink)
Spheres of Reason comprises nine new articles on normativity. They make a timely and distinctive contribution to our understanding of how normative thought may or may not be unified across the spheres of actions, belief and feeling. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the nature of normativity and the bearing it has on human thought.
: Pharmacogenetics offers the prospect of an era of safer and more effective drugs, as well as more individualized use of drug therapies. Before the benefits of pharmacogenetics can be realized, the ethical issues that arise in research and clinical application of pharmacogenetic technologies must be addressed. The ethical issues raised by pharmacogenetics can be addressed under six headings: regulatory oversight, confidentiality and privacy, informed consent, availability of drugs, access, and clinicians' changing responsibilities in the era of pharmacogenetic medicine. We (...) analyze each of these categories of ethical issues and provide policy approaches for addressing them. (shrink)
We contribute to the study of offshoring and outsourcing by examining how stakeholders' ethical evaluations of these decisions are influenced by both their roles and the issues embedded within the decisions. Although offshoring and outsourcing have been studied from a transactional perspective, the moral issues embedded within these decisions can profoundly affect how the organization is perceived by outside stakeholders. First, we contend that investors use different moral paradigms compared with consumer stakeholders, as a result the stakeholder role an individual (...) occupies significantly influences their ethical evaluation of offshoring and outsourcing decisions. Next, we examine whether embedded issues of product quality and information security increase the moral intensity of offshoring and outsourcing decisions, thereby negatively influencing ethical evaluations. Using vignettes, we find that respondents viewed either offshoring or outsourcing less favorably than relocation. Surprisingly, respondents viewed offshoring with data security risks more negatively than offshore outsourcing with quality risks, suggesting that the issue of information security has a greater moral intensity than the issue of product or service quality for both consumer and investor stakeholders. Thus, we show that that embedded issues play a significant role in stakeholders' ethical judgments of business decisions, such as offshoring and outsourcing. (shrink)
This overview of 10 years of stem cell controversy reviews the moral conflict that has made ESCs so controversial and how this conflict plays itself out in the legal realm, focusing on the constitutional status of efforts to ban ESC research or ESC-derived therapies. It provides a history of the federal funding debate from the Carter to the Obama administrations, and the importance of the Raab memo in authorizing federal funding for research with privately derived ESCs despite the Dickey-Wicker ban (...) on federal funding of embryo research. It also reviews the role that scientists themselves have played in developing regulations for ESC research, the emergence of ESCROs as special review bodies for ESC research, and the thorough consent requirements for donation of IVF embryos to ESC research. With research now transitioning from the lab to the clinic, the article reviews the challenges of ensuring safety and consent in translational research. It concludes with a call for respecting those persons who have to using or working with ESC products and an account of how obtaining stem cells from a person's own cells will alleviate some but not all of the controversy surrounding ESC research. (shrink)