Ulrich Beck's best selling Risk Society established risk on the sociological agenda. It brought together a wide range of issues centering on environmental, health and personal risk, provided a rallying ground for researchers and activists in a variety of social movements and acted as a reference point for state and local policies in risk management. The Risk Society and Beyond charts the progress of Beck's ideas and traces their evolution. It demonstrates why the issues raised by Beck reverberate widely (...) throughout social theory and covers the new risks that Beck did not foresee, associated with the emergence of new technologies, genetic and cybernetic. The book is unique because it offers both an introduction to the main arguments in Risk Society and develops a range of critical discussions of aspects of this and other works of Beck. (shrink)
This article seeks to explore the European debate on commercial nobility at the beginning of the Seven Years War in the light of the intense reform debates over French absolutism in the 1730s and 1740s and Montesquieu's rigid refutation of noble trade in The Spirit of the Laws. In early 1756, Montesquieu's position against noble trade had come under severe attack by Gabriel François Coyer's Noblesse Commerçante. Claiming that the royal absolutist system had transformed the nobles into an idle class (...) without any political, economic, or military function that stood in sharp contrast to the dynamism of modern commercial society, Coyer perceived noble enterprises in maritime, wholesale, and even retail trade as a necessary means to help France compete with commercially more advanced states such as England and Holland. Coyer's pamphlet roused heated controversies in Paris and beyond and soon engaged the leading minds of the time in debates over the actual and desired role of the hereditary aristocracy in monarchies. Coyer's strongest opponents, like the Chevalier d’Arc, vehemently defended Montesquieu's contention that the upkeep of the non-commercial status of the nobility was a political necessity. Yet they, too, conceded that the nobility had to undergo severe reforms not to hamper France's military standing and future economic success. The article finally turns to Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi, the most interesting commentator on the debate in Germany, who, by October 1756, had translated Coyer's and d’Arc's texts into German and written an own treatise on the same issue. Justi's pamphlet reveals that his political theory was deeply shaped by the debate and thus disproves the long-held assumption in the literature that German cameralism, with Justi as its main representative, was an allegedly isolated current of thought that neither received significant external influences, nor exerted any considerable impact beyond the boundaries of the Germanic world. (shrink)
The European Union requires a stronger approach to social solidarity than has been offered in existing theory. Perhaps the exigency of this claim is nowhere more evident than in the recent failed referendums in France and the Netherlands. In both cases the narrow legal-economic sense of the EU won out over what was hoped to be an emerging European public sphere, indeed a shared sense of European identity rooted in history. This article asks what type of ‘history’ this identity requires. (...) Approaching this problem from a theoretical perspective, I will outline why and how such a ‘history’ must accord with the existing limits set by post-and/or transnationalism itself. Second, I will question how well various attempts at writing such a ‘history’ have already managed in terms of these limits. Lastly, drawing on the current work of sociologist Ulrich Beck, I will put forward a theoretical alternative to the existing models. (shrink)
Adam Świeżyński | : The experience of loneliness is usually seen as a negative aspect of human existence and something to overcome. However, it is worth trying to break free, if only on a trial basis, from the established traditional perception of loneliness, and strive to reduce it immediately from being one of the main sources of human affliction and to rethink its importance in human life. In order to do this, we must first consider the question of the (...) essence of loneliness, and then examine the question of its axiological status, i.e. its value. The ontological dimension and the axiological dimension of the issue should include the opportunity to construct the concept of human loneliness, by taking into account its internal and external aspect. The purpose of this paper is to propose an outline concept of loneliness, which, on the basis of findings on its essence, seeks to determine its axiological nature. The designated point of departure is the biblical image of human loneliness presented in Genesis. | : L’expérience de la solitude est souvent perçue comme un aspect négatif de l’existence humaine, nécessitant d’être surmonté. Il convient cependant d’essayer de se libérer de cette perception figée de la solitude, selon laquelle celle-ci est réduite immédiatement à l’une des sources fondamentales du malheur humain, et d’essayer de revisiter le sens qu’elle a l’égard de la vie humaine. Pour ceci, il est nécessaire dans un premier lieu de considérer l’être de la solitude pour ensuite analyser son statut axiologique. La dimension axiologique et ontologique de la question évoquée devraient ensemble permettre de construire une conception de la solitude considérant sont aspect extérieur et intérieur. L’objet de cet écrit est de proposer une esquisse de la conception de la solitude qui en partant des précisions sur son être a pour objectif de définir son caractère axiologique. L’image de la solitude humaine telle que présentée dans la Genèse sera prise comme point de départ. (shrink)
This is a reply to de Sousa's 'Emotional Truth', in which he argues that emotions can be objective, as propositional truths are. I say that it is better to distinguish between truth and accuracy, and agree with de Sousa to the extent of arguing that emotions can be more or less accurate, that is, based on the facts as they are.
‘The Principles of the Pure Type Theory’ is a translation of Leon Chwistek's 1922 paper ‘Zasady czystej teorii typów’. It summarizes Chwistek's results from a series of studies of the logic of Whitehead and Russell's Principia Mathematica which were published between 1912 and 1924. Chwistek's main argument involves a criticism of the axiom of reducibility. Moreover, ‘The Principles of the Pure Type Theory’ is a source for Chwistek's views on an issue in Whitehead and Russell's ‘no-class theory of classes’ involving (...) the notion of ‘scope’. (shrink)
Alston's perceptual account of mystical experience fails to show how it is that the sort of predicates that are used to describe God in these experiences could be derived from perception, even though the ascription of matched predicates in the natural order are not derived in the manner Alston has in mind. In contrast, if one looks to research on shared attention between individuals as mediated by mirror neurons, then one can give a perceptual account of mystical experience which draws (...) a tighter connection between what is reported in mystical reports and the most similar reports in the natural order. (shrink)
Critical Heuristics of Social Planning has been recognised as the seminal work on critical systems thinking. Ulrich offers a new approach both to practical philosophy (which has until now remained rather unpractical) and to systems thinking (which has reduced the systems idea to a tool of merely instrumental, rather than practical, reason). Critical systems heuristics (CSH), as the approach is now generally called, provides planners, practitioners and policy makers with a conceptual tool for practising practical reason. It will enable (...) them to identify and discuss systematically the value implications of policies, plans, problem definitions, or program evaluations. In addition, the book offers the most thorough-going introduction available today to the espistemological foundations of critical systems thinking, including a practicable model of cogent argumentation on disputed value implications of designs. A must for practitioners and scholars who are interested in a self-critical and practicable understanding of the widespread call for holistic or systems thinking! "Critical Heuristics will be recognised as a very important book in the emerging systems discipline and will hold a significant position for many years to come". Peter B. Checkland, University of Lancaster, England. "An outstanding contribution to an adequate philosophical and heuristic framework for critical social inquiry and design". C. West Churchman, University of California, Berkeley, USA. "The book fills a major gap in the literature on the systems tradition". Michael C. Jackson, University of Hull, England. "Drawing on a profound knowledge of both Anglo-American systems theory and German practical philosophy, this book belongs to the best studies I have seen on the normative foundations of planning and systems design." Horst Steinmann, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. "Mandatory for libraries in the field of planning". John Friedmann, University of California, Los Angeles, USA. (shrink)
Ulrich Meyer defends a novel theory about the nature of time, and argues against the consensus view that time and space are fundamentally alike. He presents the first comprehensive defense of a 'modal' account, which emphasizes the similarities between times and possible worlds in modal logic, and is easily reconciled with the theory of relativity.
This study analyses the influence that Adam Smith's philosophy had on his Wealth of Nations, and reveals the unity in Smith's extensive system of morals, politics, and economics. It concludes that Smith was motivated by a political ideal, which was moral liberalism.
Adam Smith is respected as the father of contemporary economics for his work on systemizing classical economics as an independent field of study in The Wealth of Nations. But he was also a significant moral philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment, with its characteristic concern for integrating sentiments and rationality. This article considers Adam Smith as a key moral philosopher of commercial society whose critical reflection upon the particular ethical challenges posed by the new pressures and possibilities of commercial (...) society remains relevant today. The discussion has three parts. First I address the artificial separation between self-interest and morality often attributed to Smith, in which his work on economics is stripped of its ethical context. Second I outline Smith’s ethical approach to economics, focusing on his vigorous but qualified defence of commercial society for its contributions to prosperity, justice, and freedom. Third I outline Smith’s moral philosophy proper as combining a naturalistic account of moral psychology with a virtue ethics based on propriety in commercial society. (shrink)
How do managers think about the relationship between the pursuit of economic success and ethical demands? This paper presents the main results of a qualitative-empirical study (Ulrich and Thielemann, 1992). The range of thinking patterns displayed by Swiss managers in this field of tension is elucidated and typologized. The results are then compared with those yielded by other studies on managerial ethics. Although the comparisons reveal essential parallels, the findings of previous investigations are interpreted in a considerably different manner. (...) In particular it is shown that, on the strength of a systematic conception of the fundamental problem of business ethics, the frequently heard assertion that the vast majority of managers are ethical opportunists must be revised. The internationally prevailing thinking pattern among managers does not prove to be ethical opportunism or even cynicism buteconomism, i.e. theethical conviction that economically appropriate actionin itself is ethically good as such. (shrink)
Whether or not capitalism is compatible with ethics is a long standing dispute. We take up an approach to virtue ethics inspired by Adam Smith and consider how market competition influences the virtues most associated with modern commercial society. Up to a point, competition nurtures and supports such virtues as prudence, temperance, civility, industriousness and honesty. But there are also various mechanisms by which competition can have deleterious effects on the institutions and incentives necessary for sustaining even these most (...) commercially friendly of virtues. It is often supposed that if competitive markets are good, more competition must always be better. However, in the long run competition enhancing policies that neglect the nurturing and support of the bourgeois virtues may undermine the continued flourishing of modern commercial society. (shrink)
For most of the two hundred years or so that have passed since the publication of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith's writings on political and economic questions have been viewed within a liberal capitalist perspective of nineteenth- and twentieth- century provenance. This essay in interpretation seeks to provide a more historical reading of certain political themes which recur in Smith's writings by bringing eighteenth-century perspectives to bear on the problem. Contrary to the view that sees Smith's work as (...) marking the point at which 'politics' was being eclipsed by 'economics', it claims that Smith has a 'politics' which goes beyond certain political attitudes connected with the role of the state in economic affairs. It argues that he employs a consistent mode of political analysis which cannot be encompassed within the standard liberal capitalist categories, but can be understood by reference to the language and qualities of contemporary political debate, and of the eighteenth-century science of politics cultivated by Montesquieu and, above all, Hume, particularly as revealed by recent scholarship. A concluding chapter draws the various strands of the interpretation together to form a portrait of what Smith might legitimately be said to have been doing when he wrote on these matters. (shrink)
The Humean Theory of Reasons, according to which all of our reasons for action are explained by our desires, has been criticized for not being able to account for “moral reasons,” namely, overriding reasons to act on moral demands regardless of one's desires. My aim in this paper is to utilize ideas from Adam Smith's moral philosophy in order to offer a novel and alternative account of moral reasons that is both desire-based and accommodating of an adequate version of (...) the requirement that moral demands have overriding reason-giving force. In particular, I argue that the standpoint of what Smith calls “the impartial spectator” can both determine what is morally appropriate and inappropriate and provide the basis for normative reasons for action—including reasons to act on moral demands—to nearly all reason-responsive agents and, furthermore, that these reasons have the correct weight. The upshot of the proposed account is that it offers an interesting middle road out of a dilemma pertaining to the explanatory and normative dimensions of reasons for informed-desire Humean theorists. (shrink)
Some authors have recently arguedthat an objects velocity is logicallyindependent of its locations throughout time.Their aim is to deny the Russellianview that motion is merely a change oflocation, and to promote a rival account onwhich the connection between velocities andtrajectories is provided by the laws ofnature. I defend the Russellian view of motionagainst these attacks.