I explore two thought-experiments in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s important article, “A Defense of Abortion”: the violinist example and the people-seeds example. I argue (contra Thomson) that you have a moral duty not to unplug yourself from the violinist and also a moral duty not to destroy a people-seed that has landed in your sofa. Nevertheless, I also argue that there are crucial differences between the thought-experiments and the contexts of pregnancy due to rape or to contraceptive failure. In virtue of (...) these differences, it would not follow from my conclusions about the violinist and people-seeds cases that abortion would not be permissible in a case of rape or in a case of voluntaryintercourse with contraceptive failure. (shrink)
We cannot easily condemn in principle a policy where people are non-voluntarily sterilized with their informed consent (where they accept sterilization, if they do, in order to avoid punishment). There are conceivable circumstances where such a policy would be morally acceptable. One such conceivable circumstance is the one (incorrectly, as it were) believed by most decent advocates of eugenics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to exist: to wit, a situation where the human race as such is facing (...) a threat. Perhaps today's Chinese experience with a threat of overpopulation is a more realistic example? Finally, there is some room for a kind of non-voluntary (and coercive) sterilization without informed consent. I think of people who are severely mentally retarded, and who cannot understand how sexual intercourse relates to conception. If some of these persons are fertile and sexually active, it may very well be the morally right thing to do to sterilize these persons, in their own best interest, but without their consent - if necessary even through coercive means. (shrink)
Voluntary acts are preceded by electrophysiological (RPs). With spontaneous acts involving no preplanning, the main negative RP shift begins at about200 ms. Control experiments, in which a skin stimulus was timed (S), helped evaluate each subject's error in reporting the clock times for awareness of any perceived event.
Criminal offenders may be offered to participate in voluntary rehabilitation programs aiming at correcting undesirable behaviour, as a condition of early release. Behavioural treatment may include direct intervention into the central nervous system (CNS). This article discusses under which circumstances voluntary rehabilitation by CNS intervention is justified. It is argued that although the context of voluntary rehabilitation is a coercive circumstance, consent may still be effective, in the sense that it can meet formal criteria for informed consent. (...) Further, for a consent to be normatively valid (“take the wronging out of the act”) under a coercive circumstance, the subject to be treated must (1) have the sovereign authority to consent, and (2) the offer-giver must be in the right normative position to make the offer. While I argue that subjects do have the sovereign authority to consent to treatment, I also argue that inappropriate offers yield invalid consents. Considerations on inappropriate offers should therefore inform which kinds of CNS intervention-based rehabilitation schemes the state may propose as part of the criminal justice system. Yet as I conclude in this paper, while there are some intrinsic constraints on voluntary rehabilitation programs, the main constraints on voluntary rehabilitation are likely to be contingent overriders. However, CNS intervention is not ruled out as such in the context of voluntary rehabilitation. (shrink)
Does addiction to heroin undermine the voluntariness of heroin addicts' consent to take part in research which involves giving them free and legal heroin? This question has been raised in connection with research into the effectiveness of heroin prescription as a way of treating dependent heroin users. Participants in such research are required to give their informed consent to take part. Louis C. Charland has argued that we should not presume that heroin addicts are competent to do this since heroin (...) addiction by nature involves a loss of ability to resist the desire for heroin. In this article, I argue that Charland is right that we should not presume that heroin addicts are competent to consent, but not for the reason he thinks. In fact, as Charland's critics correctly point out, there is plenty of evidence showing that heroin addicts can resist their desire for heroin. These critics are wrong, however, to conclude from this that we should presume that heroin addicts are competent to give their voluntary consent. There are, I shall argue, other conditions associated with heroin addiction that might constrain heroin addicts' choice in ways likely to undermine the voluntariness of their consent. In order to see this, we need to move beyond the focus on the addicts' desires for heroin and instead consider the wider social and psychological circumstances of heroin addiction, as well as the effects these circumstances may have on the addicts' beliefs about the nature of their options. (shrink)
Voluntary management standards for social and environmental performance ideally help to define and improve firms’ related capabilities. These standards, however, have largely failed to improve such performance as intended. Over-emphasis on institutional factors leading to adoption of these standards has neglected the role of firms’ existing capabilities. External pressures can drive firms to adopt standards more than their technical capacity to employ them. This can lead to problems of “fit” between institutional requirements and a firm’s existing capabilities . We (...) describe a conceptual model that considers the impact of an interaction between a firm’s institutional requirements and its existing capabilities on standards failure. We suggest solutions that align institutional requirements to appropriate governance forms as a means to improve standards success. We contribute to theory by describing the role of firms’ internal capabilities to the success of voluntary management standards and the reliability of self-regulation generally. (shrink)
I agree with Nachev and Hacker’s general approach. However, their criticism of claims of covert automaticity can be strengthened. I first say a few words on what voluntary action involves and on the consequent limited relevance of brain research for the determination of voluntariness. I then turn to Nachev and Hacker’s discussion of possible covert automaticity and show why the case for it is weaker than they allow.
This article analyzes the adoption of voluntary environmental management programs by firms operating in Mexico. Mexican firms can obtain national certification (Clean Industry) and/or international certification (ISO 14001). Based on institutional entrepreneurship theory, we posit that the role played by first movers as institutional entrepreneurs is crucial if these programs are to become established with sufficient strength and appeal. This understanding is especially important in an environment where more than one program can be adopted. We tested several hypotheses on (...) the behaviors of 1328 facilities operating in Mexico, half of which (664) had certified environmental management programs. Of the 664 certified facilities, 217 were classified as early adopters. Three variables predicted the likelihood of a facility being an early adopter: (1) connected to international market, (2) in the maquila sector, and (3) linked to an industry association that offers free resources. (shrink)
In the Chinese stock market, special treatment (ST) firms are the firms listed as facing imminent danger of delisting, unless they return to profitability after reporting two consecutive annual losses. Some ST firms voluntarily pay substantial fees to their external auditors to conduct interim audits, which are not required by regulations. In this study, we investigate and find that ST firms that pay for voluntary interim audits report greater discretionary accrued earnings, higher non-operating earnings, and higher returns on assets (...) in ensuing annual reports. As a result, these firms are more likely to return to profitability and reduce their delisting risk. Our results, which contribute to the current debate on auditor independence, appear to be consistent with the possibility that ST firms “buy” external auditors’ cooperation to manipulate earnings when faced with the threat of delisting. (shrink)
Some writers have argued that a Kantian approach to ethics can be used to justify suicide in cases of extreme dementia, where a patient lacks the rationality required of Kantian moral agents. I worry that this line of thinking may lead to the more extreme claim that euthanasia is a proper Kantian response to severe dementia (and similar afflictions). Such morally treacherous thinking seems to be directly implied by the arguments that lead Dennis Cooley and similar writers to claim that (...) Kant might support suicide. If rationality is the only factor in valuing a human life, then the loss of that rationality (however such loss might be defined) would allow us to use essentially utilitarian thinking in order to support non-voluntary euthanasia, since the patients themselves would no longer be moral agents that demand respect. (shrink)
The permissibility of actions depends upon facts about the flourishing and separateness of persons. Persons differ from other creatures in having the task of discovering for themselves, by conjecture and refutation, what sort of life will fulfil them. Compulsory slavery impermissibly prevents some persons from pursuing this task. However, many people may conjecture that they are natural slaves. Some of these conjectures may turn out to be correct. In consequence, voluntary slavery, in which one person welcomes the duty to (...) fulfil all the commands of another, is permissible. Life-long voluntary slavery contracts are impermissible because of human fallibility; but fixed-term slavery contracts should be legally enforceable. Each person has the temporarily alienable moral right to direct her own life. (shrink)
It is often accepted that we may legitimately speak about voluntary euthanasia only in cases of persons who are suffering because they are incurably injured or have an incurable disease. This article argues that when we consider the moral acceptability of voluntary euthanasia, we have no good reason to concentrate only on persons who are ill or injured and suffering.
It has been argued that voluntary euthanasia (VE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) are morally wrong. Yet, a gravely suffering patient might insist that he has a moral right to the procedures even if they were morally wrong. There are also philosophers who maintain that an agent can have a moral right to do something that is morally wrong. In this article, I assess the view that a suffering patient can have a moral right to VE and PAS despite the (...) moral wrongness of the procedures in light of the main argument for a moral right to do wrong found in recent philosophical literature. I maintain that the argument does not provide adequate support for such a right to VE and PAS. (shrink)
Ever since the start of the twentieth century, a growing interest and importance of studying fatwas can be noted, with a focus on Arabic printed fatwas (Wokoeck 2009). The scholarly study of end-of-life ethics in these fatwas is a very recent feature, taking a first start in the 1980s (Anees 1984; Rispler-Chaim 1993). Since the past two decades, we have witnessed the emergence of a multitude of English fatwas that can easily be consulted through the Internet (‘e-fatwas’), providing Muslims worldwide (...) with a form of Islamic normative guidance on a huge variety of topics. Although English online fatwas do provide guidance for Muslims and Muslim minorities worldwide on a myriad of topics including end-of-life issues, they have hardly been studied. This study analyses Islamic views on (non-)voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide as expressed in English Sunni fatwas published on independent—i.e. not created by established organisations—Islamic websites. We use Tyan’s definition of a fatwa to distinguish between fatwas and other types of texts offering Islamic guidance through the Internet. The study of e-fatwas is framed in the context of Bunt’s typology of Cyber Islamic Environments (Bunt 2009) and in the framework of Roy’s view on the virtual umma (Roy 2002). ‘(Non-)voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide’ are defined using Broeckaert’s conceptual framework on treatment decisions at the end of life (Broeckaert 2008). We analysed 32 English Sunni e-fatwas. All of the e-fatwas discussed here firmly speak out against every form of active termination of life. They often bear the same structure, basing themselves solely on Quranic verses and prophetic traditions, leaving aside classical jurisprudential discussions on the subject. In this respect they share the characteristics central in Roy’s typology of the fatwa in the virtual umma. On the level of content, they are in line with the international literature on Islamic end-of-life ethics. English Sunni e-fatwas make up an influential and therefore important developing body of Islamic orthodox normative authority on end-of-life ethics that is still open for further research. (shrink)
Environmental degradation and extractive industry are inextricably linked, and the industry’s adverse impact on air, water, and ground resources has been exacerbated with increased demand for raw materials and their location in some of the more environmentally fragile areas of the world. Historically, companies have managed to control calls for regulation and improved, i.e., more expensive, mining technologies by (a) their importance in economic growth and job creation or (b) through adroit use of their economic power and bargaining leverage against (...) weak national governments, regional and international regulatory bodies. More recently, the industry has had to contend with another set of challenges that involved treatment of indigenous people and their traditional land rights, fair treatment of workers, human rights abuses, and bribery and corruption involving local officials and political leaders. These challenges currently fall outside the traditional areas of regulation and control. Nevertheless, they pose serious threat to the industry’s business practices because of their global scope, threat to company’s reputation, and long-term risks of political instability leading to increasing cost of capital. Industry has responded to these challenges by creating voluntary codes of conduct that would signify their intent to comply with higher standards of conduct, and assuage public opinion that no further action is called for. These codes, however, lack any monitoring mechanism and reporting integrity to assure the public that the industry members are indeed meeting their commitments. Consequently, pressure on the industry continues unabated and with ever increasing calls for mandatory regulation and oversight. This article examines the activities of one mining company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc., which has taken a radically different approach in responding to these challenges at its mining operations in West Papua, Indonesia. While cooperating with industry-based efforts of voluntary codes of conduct, Freeport also initiated a radically different response through its own voluntary code that would directly focus on issues of human rights, treatment of indigenous people on whose traditional land its mine was located; economic development and job creation and, improvements in health, education, and housing facilities, to name a few. Additionally, the company earmarked large sums of money and involved representatives of the indigenous people in their management and disbursement. The company took an even more radical action when it committed itself to independent external audits of the company’s compliance with the code, and that these findings and company’s responses would be made public without prior censorship by the company. We analyze the nature of corporate culture, vision and risk-taking propensities of its management that would impel the company to embark on a high risk strategy whose outcomes could not be predicted with any degree of certainty before the fact. The parent company also had to confront discontent among the management ranks at the mine site because of cultural differences and management styles of expatriates and local (Indonesian) managers. Finally, we discuss in some detail the extensive and intensive character of a two phase audit conducted by the outside monitors, their findings, and the process by which they were implemented and reported to general public. We also evaluate the strengths and challenges posed by such audits, their importance to the company’s future, and how such projects might be undertaken by other companies. (shrink)
Some researchers have argued that firms with favorable environmental performance are more likely to provide voluntary environmental disclosure, while others have argued that firms with poor environmental performance are most likely to disclose. The authors propose a curvilinear relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure that is moderated by visibility. Data were obtained from S&P 500 firms queried by Ceres' Climate Disclosure Project. Results show a U-shaped environmental performance—environmental disclosure relation and a main effect for visibility but no moderating (...) effect for visibility on the U-shaped environmental performance-environmental disclosure relation. The authors discussed the implications of these results for future research and practice. (shrink)
The design and development of appropriate regulatory mechanisms have attracted renewed attention in recent years. In particular, a shift towards voluntary self-regulatory mechanisms has been witnessed within many industries, such as the Australian mining and petroleum industries which have developed voluntary codes of conduct. This paper analyses the development of different regulatory forms and provides a brief comparative analysis of the two main voluntary codes of conduct used by the Australian mining and petroleum industries. In particular, the (...) study focuses on the integration of social sustainability elements within these frameworks that help contribute to solving issues such as coverage of human rights, approaches to employee and community relations, systems of stakeholder engagement, community consultation and public reporting. The study concludes that stakeholders have an important role to play in driving the introduction of voluntary regulation. This phenomenon can be traced back to how a company’s need to maintain its legitimacy, or social licence to operate, often motivates it to go beyond compliance. By providing a fuller understanding of factors driving the evolution of different regulatory mechanisms, this study has important implications for policy makers and practitioners interested in developing effective regulation. (shrink)
When it is considered to be in their best interests, withholding and withdrawing life-supporting treatment from non-competent physically ill or injured patients – non-voluntary passive euthanasia, as it has been called – is generally accepted. A central reason in support of the procedures relates to the perceived manner of death they involve: in non-voluntary passive euthanasia death is seen to come about naturally. When a non-competent psychiatric patient attempts to kill herself, the mental health care providers treating her (...) are obligated to try to stop her. Yet it has been suggested that death by suicide can be a part of the natural course of a severe mental illness. Accordingly, if the perceived naturalness of the deaths occurring in connection with non-voluntary passive euthanasia speaks for their moral permissibility, it could be taken that a similar reason can support the moral acceptability of the suicidal deaths of non-competent psychiatric patients. In this article, I consider whether the suicidal death of a non-competent psychiatric patient would necessarily be less natural than those of physically ill or injured patients who die as a result of non-voluntary passive euthanasia. I argue that it would not. (shrink)
The article discusses the conditions under which can we say that people enter the economic system voluntarily. “The Need for an Exit Option” briefly explains the philosophical argument that voluntary interaction requires an exit option—a reasonable alternative to participation in the projects of others. “The Treatment of Effective Forced Labor in Economic and Political Theory” considers the treatment of effectively forced interaction in economic and political theory. “Human Need” discusses theories of human need to determine the capabilities a person (...) requires to have an acceptable exit option. “Capability in Cash, Kind, or Raw Resources” considers what form access to that level of capability should take—in cash, kind, or raw resources, concluding that a basic income guarantee is the most effective method to ensure an exit option in a modern, industrial economy. (shrink)
The concept of voluntary motor control frequently appears in the neuroscientific literature, specifically in the context of cortically-mediated, intentional motor actions. For cognitive scientists, this concept of VMC raises a number of interesting questions: Are there dedicated, modular-like structures within the motor system associated with VMC? Or is it the case that VMC is distributed over multiple cortical as well as subcortical structures? Is there any one place within the so-called hierarchy of motor control where voluntary movements could (...) be said to originate? And in the current neurological literature how is the adjective voluntary in VMC being used? These questions are here considered in the context of how higher- and lower-levels of motor control, plan, initiate, coordinate, sequence, and modulate goal-directed motor outputs in response to changing internal and external inputs. Particularly relevant are the conceptual implications of current neurological modeling of VMC concerning causal agency. (shrink)
The public accounting industry’s voluntary code of conduct in the United States is the American Institute of CPA’s Code of Professional Conduct. Based on our analysis, we conclude that the accounting industry’s current code is limited in its ability to serve the public interest in three respects. Specifically, the code is input-based, requires no third-party attestation of compliance with the code, and contains no public reporting process of code compliance/noncompliance at the accounting firm level. We propose that the accounting (...) profession should reorient its largely input-based Code of Professional Conduct to include output-based performance measurements. We also conclude that third-party attestation of compliance with the profession’s code would help to promote compliance. Finally, we maintain that the accounting industry should initiate a public reporting process at the individual accounting firm level. Such a requirement would add a degree of public accountability as to whether a firm complies or fails to comply with the industry’s voluntary code of conduct. (shrink)
The Higher Education and Employment strand of the Learning for Life project focused on exploring some of the values of 169 students and graduate employees (Arthur et al. 2009a , b ). A major theme suggested by participants, which arose naturally from the data and emerged from people’s accounts during in-depth interviews, involved the close relationship they felt existed between voluntary work and core values. It is this aspect of the project that is reported. There are several important and (...) new findings that will be highlighted, including: voluntary work as a dimension for the development of character, personal development and a venue for developing people’s skills (which universities and employers often seek in their processes of recruitment); the types of voluntary work conducted by students and graduate employees; the role of ethnic minorities; people’s moral motivations behind engaging in voluntary work; the rise of the gap year volunteer; and the link between voluntary work at university and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the working world. (shrink)
The corporate social responsibility literature devotes relatively little attention to the strategic role played by employee voluntary activities (EVAs) in social alliances. Using the resource-based perspective of the organization to frame the data collection and the analyses, this article investigates: (1) the role of EVAs in the development of corporate and non-profit organizations (NPOs) competitive assets and (2) the management approaches to how both parties can develop their own resources by combining them with the shared resources with the purpose (...) of enhancing its competitive advantage in its own sector. The database is composed of 70 specifically designed interviews with managers of UK-based firms and NPOs. The analyses suggest, among other things, that the majority of corporate and non-profit managers find that EVAs generate substantial tangible and intangible benefits for their respective organisations, creating genuine synergies. We also find evidence of a general preference for the management approaches of such programmes in both types of organisation. (shrink)
This paper discusses physician-assisted suicide and voluntary active euthanasia, supplies a short history and argues in favour of permitting both once rigid criteria have been set and the cases retro-reviewed. I suggest that among these criteria should be that VAE should only be permitted with one more necessary criterion: that VAE should only be allowed when physician assisted suicide is not a possible option. If the patient is able to ingest and absorb the medication there is no reason why (...) VAE should be permitted. A brief history of VAE and PAS is given and some of the arguments which have been given are analyzed. The Principle of the Double Effect is briefly discussed and why, in my opinion, it is not a valid principle is briefly discussed. (shrink)
In his classic work, The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James remarked that, as a tradition, religion is always rooted in an original religious experience of an inspirational figure.1 Using the words of the French theologian Sabatier, James describes this as “an intercourse, a conscious and voluntary relation, entered into by a soul in distress with the mysterious power upon which it feels itself to depend, and upon which its fate is contingent.”2 James pioneered the description of religious (...) experience in ways that revealed more than traditional metaphysics and dogmatic theology did. His research into psychic phenomena led, for example, to “the subliminal” and “a wider consciousness,” expressions that.. (shrink)
In an earlier article in this journal I argued that the question of whether heroin addicts can give voluntary consent to take part in research which involves giving them a choice of free heroin does not – in contrast with a common assumption in the bioethics literature – depend exclusively on whether or not they possess the capacity to resist their desire for heroin. In some cases, circumstances and beliefs might undermine the voluntariness of the choices a person makes (...) even if they do possess a capacity for self-control. Based on what I took to be a plausible definition of voluntariness, I argued that the circumstances and beliefs typical of many vulnerable heroin addicts are such that we have good reasons to suspect they cannot give voluntary consent to take part in such research, even assuming their desire for heroin is not irresistible. In a recent article in this journal, Uusitalo and Broers object to this on the grounds that I misdescribe heroin addicts' options set, that the definition of voluntariness on which I rely is unrealistic and too demanding, and, more generally, that my view of heroin addiction is flawed. I think their arguments derive from a misunderstanding of the view I expressed in my article. In what follows I hope therefore to clarify my position. (shrink)
In broad outline, the chapter proceeds as follows. As indicated above, the Voluntary Act Principle has two components. The first part, the act component, claims that criminal liability can be imposed on an accused only for the performance of an act. The second part, the voluntariness component, claims that criminal liability can be imposed on an accused only for the voluntary performance of an act. I will argue that both components of the Voluntary Act Principle are in (...) need of amendment. I will first indicate why I think the act component of the Voluntary Act Principle is in tension with the criminal law’s own conception of the necessary conditions for criminal liability, and suggest a relatively simple fix. I will then argue that what is really at work in the voluntariness component of the Voluntary Act Principle is not so much voluntariness but rather what some authors have called the practical agency condition. In making my argument I will appeal to Harry Frankfurt’s hierarchical account of the will in the hopes of illuminating what it means for an action to belong to an agent, and thus, what it means for an agent to be responsible for something she has done. (shrink)
Public health aims to provide universal safety and progressive opportunities to populations to realise their highest level of health through prevention of disease, its progression or transmission. Screening asymptomatic individuals to detect early unapparent conditions is an important public health intervention strategy. It may be designed to be compulsory or voluntary depending on the epidemiological characteristics of the disease. Integrated screening, including for both syphilis and cancer of the cervix, is a core component of the national reproductive health program (...) in Kenya. Screening for syphilis is compulsory while it is voluntary for cervical cancer. Participants’ perspectives of either form of screening approach provide the necessary contextual information that clarifies mundane community concerns. (shrink)
The degree of autonomy present in the choices made by individuals with an addiction, notably in the context of research, is unclear and debated. Some have argued that addiction, as it is commonly understood, prevents people from having sufficient decision-making capacity or self-control to engage in choices involving substances to which they have an addiction. Others have criticized this position for being too radical and have counter-argued in favour of the full autonomy of people with an addiction. Aligning ourselves with (...) middle-ground positions between these two extremes, we flesh out an account of voluntary action that makes room for finer-grained analyses than the proposed all-or-nothing stances, which rely on a rather static metaphysical understanding of the nature of the voluntariness of action. In contrast, a dynamic concept of voluntary action better accounts for varying levels of voluntariness of the person with an addiction which takes into consideration internal and external determinants of choice. Accordingly, like other components of autonomous choices such as level of information, voluntariness can fluctuate. Therefore, there are important implications for research and clinical ethics in matters of consent, recruitment, and therapeutic approaches. Overall, our proposal is inspired by a pragmatist understanding of voluntary action, notably with respect to how voluntariness is both informed by actions and experiences that shape one's view of the world. (shrink)
William Alston’s argument against the deontological conception of epistemic justification is a classic—and much debated—piece of contemporary epistemology. At the heart of Alston’s argument, however, lies a very simple mistake which, surprisingly, appears to have gone unnoticed in the vast literature now devoted to the argument. After having shown why some of the standard responses to Alston’s argument don’t work, we elucidate the mistake and offer a hypothesis as to why it has escaped attention.