In Plato’s dialogues, Socrates calls things like justice, piety, and largeness “forms.” In several of these dialogues, he makes clear that forms are very different from familiar objects like tables and trees. Why, exactly, does he think that they differ and how are they supposed to do so? This chapter argues that in the Phaedo Socrates does not assume that they are different, but rather, over five stages of the dialogue, provides an account of how and why they do so. (...) To fully understand the claims made in the first stage, one must look to the next stage, and so on until the final stage. Socrates' ultimate reason for distinguishing forms from ordinary objects does not depend on our intuitions about things like justice and largeness, nor on the distinction between universals and particulars. Ultimately, forms cannot be ordinary objects because the form of f-ness must cause every f-thing to be f, but no ordinary object could serve as such a cause. They cannot do so because they have multiple parts and are receptive of opposites; by contrast, the form of f-ness must be simple and unchanging, since it causes every f-thing to be f. (shrink)
This paper examines relationships between accountants’ personal values and their moral reasoning. In particular, we hypothesize that there is an inverse relationship between accountants’ “Conformity” values and principled moral reasoning. This investigation is important because the literature suggests that conformity with rule-based standards may be one reason for professional accountants’ relatively lower scores on measures of moral reasoning (Abdolmohammadi et al. J Bus Ethics 16 (1997) 1717). We administered the Rokeach Values Survey (RVS) (Rokeach: 1973, The Nature of Human Values (...) (The Free Press, New York)) and the Defining Issues Test (DIT) (Rest: 1979, Development in Judgment Moral Issues (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN)) to164 graduating accounting students enrolled in capstone courses at two universities in the Northeastern United States. As potential entrants into the accounting profession, these subjects bring their values and moral reasoning to bear on attitudes and behaviors in the workplace. We find a highly significant inverse relationship between “Conformity” values and principled moral reasoning (i.e., those who prefer Conformity values have lower levels of moral reasoning). However, we also find that accounting students as a group do not prefer Conformity values above other values such as Self-actualization and Idealism, and we find positive relationships between Self-actualization and Idealism values and moral reasoning. Implications for values and ethics research are discussed. (shrink)
Accountability is a cornerstone of the governance of artificial intelligence (AI). However, it is often defined too imprecisely because its multifaceted nature and the sociotechnical structure of AI systems imply a variety of values, practices, and measures to which accountability in AI can refer. We address this lack of clarity by defining accountability in terms of answerability, identifying three conditions of possibility (authority recognition, interrogation, and limitation of power), and an architecture of seven features (context, range, agent, (...) forum, standards, process, and implications). We analyse this architecture through four accountability goals (compliance, report, oversight, and enforcement). We argue that these goals can be complementary, and that policy-makers emphasise or prioritise some over others depending on the use of accountability and the missions of AI governance. (shrink)
Written as a comment on Crispin Wright's "Vagueness: A Fifth Column Approach", this paper defends a form of supervaluationism against Wright's criticisms. Along the way, however, it takes up the question what is really wrong with Epistemicism, how the appeal of the Sorities ought properly to be understood, and why Contextualist accounts of vagueness won't do.
This comprehensive study offers a balanced assessment of libertarian accounts of free will. Bringing to bear recent work on action, causation, and causal explanation, Clarke defends a type of event-causal view from popular objections concerning rationality and diminished control. He subtly explores the extent to which event-causal accounts can secure the things for the sake of which we value free will, judging their success here to be limited. Clarke then sets out a highly original agent-causal account, one that integrates agent (...) causation and nondeterministic event causation. He defends this view from a number of objections but argues that we should find the substance causation required by any agent-causal account to be impossible. Clarke concludes that if a broad thesis of incompatibilism is correct--one on which both free will and moral responsibility are incompatible with determinism--then no libertarian account is entirely adequate. (shrink)
I shall present a problem about accountability, and its solution by Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’. Some readers of this don’t see it as a profound contribution to moral philosophy, and I want to help them. It may be helpful to follow up Strawson’s gracefully written discussion with a more staccato presentation. My treatment will also be angled somewhat differently from his, so that its lights and shadows will fall with a certain difference, which may make it serviceable even to (...) the converted. Also, I shall point to some disputable things in ‘Freedom and Resentment’, and offer repairs. So I wrote in the first published version of this paper. I wanted not only to be useful to others but also to elicit Strawson’s certificate of approval; and that hope was realized. In his ‘Reply’ Strawson wrote: ‘Bennett in the first eleven sections of his essay sets out and elaborates the essence of my position with such thorough and sympathetic understanding as to leave me little to say.’ I also tried, unsuccessfully, to analyse with more precision Strawson’s concept of reactive attitude, and to explore the extent of and reasons for the incompatibility between reactive attitudes and the objective attitude. I hoped that the display of my failures would induce Strawson to tackle the problems himself, with more success. No such luck! He wrote: ‘Bennett seeks . . . to produce a tighter and more unified organisation of the phenomena . . . than I achieved in “Freedom and Resentment”’, but he did not return to the fray. On the contrary: ‘It does not seem to me to matter if a strict definition [of ‘reactive’] is not to be had’; and he said nothing about reasons for the reactive/objective conflict. In the present version of the paper, I expound ‘Freedom and Resentment’ much as before. Since my attempts to tighten and deepen the theory failed to hook Strawson, and are not of much intrinsic interest, I now omit them. I shall, however, add an application of the doctrines of ‘Freedom and Resentment’ to the most basic philosophical question regarding punishment.. (shrink)
Evaluativism is best thought of as a way of enriching a perceptual view of pain to account for pain’s unpleasantness or painfulness. Once it was common for philosophers to contrast pains with perceptual experiences (McGinn 1982; Rorty 1980). It was thought that perceptual experiences were intentional (or content-bearing, or about something), whereas pains were representationally blank. But today many of us reject this contrast. For us, your having a pain in your toe is a matter not of your sensing “pain-ly” (...) or encountering a sense-datum, but of your having an interoceptive experience representing (accurately or inaccurately) that your toe is in a particular experience-independent condition, such as undergoing a certain “disturbance” or being damaged or in danger (Armstrong 1962; Tye 1995). But even if such representational content makes an experience a pain, a further ingredient seems required to make the pain unpleasant. According to evaluativism, the further ingredient is the experience’s possession of evaluative content: its representing the bodily condition as bad for the subject. In this chapter, I elaborate evaluativism, locate it among alternatives, and explain its attractions and challenges. (shrink)
Accounting for the Commandments in Medieval Judaism explores the discursive formation of the commandments as a generative matrix of Jewish thought and life in the posttalmudic period. Each study sheds light on how medieval Jews crafted the commandments out of theretofore underdetermined material. By systematizing, representing, or interrogating the amorphous category of commandment, medieval Jewish authors across both the Islamic and Christian spheres of influence sought to explain, justify, and characterize Israel's legal system, divine revelation, the cosmos, and even the (...) divine order. This volume correlates bodies of knowledge-such as jurisprudence, philosophy, ethics, pietism, and kabbalah-that are normally treated in isolation into a single conversation about a shared constitutional concern. (shrink)
This work addresses corruption in politics and the public services, arguing that corrupt public officials should be exposed, prosecuted and gaoled, just like their colleagues in the private sector. It covers ethical standards in the public service, both state and federal; the practice of government; the relationships between officials; their advisors and the public; the interplay between politics and personal behaviour, and offering explanations as to what can be done about corruption in public service through asking questions like; how does (...) corruption gain a foothold in public affairs?; how can public trust be rebuilt between bureaucrats, the politicians and the people who vote for them?; and how can we improve accoutability over the cover-ups? (shrink)
Critics of SRI have said little about the integrity of corporate representations resulting in screening inclusion or exclusion. This is surprising given social and environmental accounting research that finds corporate posturing and deception in the absence of external verification, and a parallel body of literature describing corporate "greenwashing" and other forms of corporate disinformation. In this paper I argue that the problems and challenges of ensuring fair and accurate corporate social reporting mirror those accompanying corporate compliance with law. Similarities and (...) points of convergence between social reporting and corporate compliance are discussed, along with proposals for reform. (shrink)
Are there objects that are “thin” in the sense that their existence does not make a substantial demand on the world? Frege famously thought so. He claimed that the equinumerosity of the knives and the forks suffices for there to be objects such as the number of knives and the number of forks, and for these objects to be identical. The idea of thin objects holds great philosophical promise but has proved hard to explicate. This book attempts to develop the (...) needed explanations by drawing on some Fregean ideas. First, to be an object is to be a possible referent of a singular term. Second, singular reference can be achieved by providing a criterion of identity for the would-be referent. The second idea enables a form of easy reference and thus, via the first idea, also a form of easy being. Paradox is avoided by imposing a predicativity restriction on the criteria of identity. But the abstraction based on a criterion of identity may result in an expanded domain. By iterating such expansions, a powerful account of dynamic abstraction is developed. (shrink)
Inspired by Heidegger’s concept of the clearing of being, and by Wittgenstein’s ideas on human practice, Theodore Schatzki offers a novel approach to understanding the constitution and transformation of social life. Key to the account he develops here is the context in which social life unfolds—the "site of the social"—as a contingent and constantly metamorphosing mesh of practices and material orders. Schatzki’s analysis reveals the advantages of this site ontology over the traditional individualist, holistic, and structuralist accounts that have dominated (...) social theory since the mid-nineteenth century. A special feature of the book is its development of the theoretical argument by sustained reference to two historical examples: the medicinal herb business of a Shaker village in the 1850s and contemporary day trading on the Nasdaq market. First focusing on the relative simplicity of Shaker life to illuminate basic ontological characteristics of the social site, Schatzki then uses the sharp contrast with the complex and dynamic practice of day trading to reveal what makes this approach useful as a general account of social existence. Along the way he provides new insights into many major issues in social theory, including the nature of social order, the significance of agency, the distinction between society and nature, the forms of social change, and how the social present affects its future. (shrink)
This book explores the far-reaching ethical implications of recent changes in the organization and practice of the social professions, including social work, community and youth work. Drawing on moral philosophy, professional ethics and new empirical research, the author explores such questions as: * Can any occupation justifiably claim a special set of ethics? * What is the impact of the new 'ethics of distrust' on the autonomy discretion and creativity of practitioners? * How does inter-professional working challenge conceptions of professional (...) identities and roles? * Do 'professional ethics' act as an obstruction to constructive developments? Combing interviews with practitioners with developments in ethical theory, Ethics, Accountability and the Social Professions shows the complexity and range of issues at stake. (shrink)
This chapter distinguishes between two concepts of moral responsibility. We are responsible for our actions in the first sense only when those actions reflect our identities as moral agents, i.e. when they are attributable to us. We are responsible in the second sense when it is appropriate for others to enforce certain expectations and demands on those actions, i.e. to hold us accountable for them. This distinction allows for an account of moral responsibility for implicit bias, defended here, on which (...) people may lack attributability for actions caused by implicit bias but are still accountable for them. What this amounts to is leaving aside appraisal-based forms of moral criticism such as blame and punishment in favor of non-appraising forms of accountability. This account not only does more justice to our moral experience and agency, but will also lead to more effective practices for combating the harms of implicit bias. (shrink)
Philosophical accounts of humour standardly account for humour in terms of what happens within a person. On these internalist accounts, humour is to be understood in terms of cognition, perception, and sensation. These accounts, while valuable, are poorly-situated to engage the social functions of humour. They have difficulty engaging why we value humour, why we use it define ourselves and our friendships, and why it may be essential to our self-esteem. In opposition to these internal accounts, I offer a social (...) account of humour. This account approaches humour as a social practice. It foregrounds laughter and participation, and thereby gives an account of humour that helps to understand why we value humour, why we use it as we do, and why we use it to define our relationship to the world. (shrink)
Impairments in pragmatic abilities, that is, difficulties with appropriate use and interpretation of language – in particular, non-literal uses of language – are considered a hallmark of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). Despite considerable research attention, these pragmatic difficulties are poorly understood. In this paper, we discuss and evaluate existing hypotheses regarding the literalism of ASC individuals, that is, their tendency for literal interpretations of non-literal communicative intentions, and link them to accounts of pragmatic development in neurotypical children. We present evidence (...) that reveals a developmental stage at which neurotypical children also have a tendency for literal interpretations and provide a possible explanation for such behaviour, one that links it to other behavioural, rule-following, patterns typical of that age. We then discuss extant evidence that shows that strict adherence to rules is also a widespread feature in ASC, and suggest that literalism might be linked to such rule-following behaviour. (shrink)
Read as a comment on Crispin Wright's \"Vagueness: A Fifth Column Approach\", this paper defends a form of supervaluationism against Wright's criticisms. Along the way, however, it takes up the question what is really wrong with Epistemicism, how the appeal of the Sorities ought properly to be understood, and why Contextualist accounts of vagueness won't do.
Accountability in Education discusses the debate surrounding the accountability of teachers and questions the responsibility that parents, other groups and even children themselves have for their experience at school. In this book, Robert Wagner examines the assumptions underlying criticisms of major institutions for their lack of attention to the ethical and practical ramifications of their policies. Wagner questions the validity of this assumption by analyzing accountability relationships in schools, discussing the responsibility students have for the quality of (...) their own experiences--as well as the potential accountability of parents and other groups--and relating the issue of accountability in education to questions of moral and legal obligation in areas such as business, government and law. His book provides a cogent philosophical analysis of accountability and is invaluable to an understanding of a majour issue in the contemporary discussion of education. (shrink)
A sophisticated and intellectually powerful analysis of culpability and moral responsibility in war, This book focuses on the causes of many episodes of foreseeable collateral damage. Trenchant, original, and ranging across security studies, international law, ethics, and international relations, Accountability for Killing will reshape our understanding of the ethics of contemporary war.
We add texture to the conclusion of Duchon and Drake (Journal of Business Ethics, 85, 2009, 301) that extreme narcissism is associated with unethical conduct. We argue that the special features possessed by financial accounting facilitate extreme narcissism in susceptible CEOs. In particular, we propose that extremely narcissistic CEOs are key players in a recurring discourse cycle facilitated by financial accounting language and measures. Such CEOs project themselves as the corporation they lead, construct a narrative about the corporation and themselves (...) using financial accounting measures, and then reflect on how their accounting-constructed performance is perceived by stakeholders. We do not present empirical evidence about whether the use of accounting language and measures leads to unethical behaviour by extreme narcissistic CEOs — although the conclusions of Duchon and Drake (2009) suggest empirical support is probable. Rather, we focus on developing alertness to the potential for accounting, when engaged by an extremely narcissistic CEO, to be a precursor or implement of unethical behaviour. (shrink)
The present chapter is concerned with revisionism about free will. It begins by offering a new characterization of revisionist accounts and the way such accounts fit (or do not) in the familiar framework of compatibilism and incompatibilism. It then traces some of the recent history of the development of revisionist accounts, and concludes by remarking on some challenges for them.
If a company’s share price rises when it sacks workers, or when it makes money from polluting the environment, it would seem that the accounting is not being done correctly. Real costs are not being paid. People’s ethical claims, which in a smaller-scale case would be legally enforceable, are not being measured in such circumstances. This results from a mismatch between the applied ethics tradition and the practice of the accounting profession. Applied ethics has mostly avoided quantification of rights, while (...) accounting practice has embraced quantification, but has been excessively conservative about what may be counted. The two traditions can be combined, by using some of the ideas economists have devised to quantify difficult-to-measure costs and benefits in environmental accounting. (shrink)
By investigating conceptions of experience from Descartes to Kant, this book shows that one of the central questions of the early-modern period was how humans can instantiate in their actions the principles of rational moral agency, while at the same time responding with their bodies to the causal play of nature. Through the analysis of this question, the book draws attention to the bodily underpinnings of the ability to experience thoughts and feelings. It thus challenges overly subjectivist interpretations that concentrate (...) on the inner realm of the experiencing mind and because of this fail to account for the worldly dimension of being experientially responsive to the affections of the body. (shrink)
Everyone agrees that not all norms that govern belief and assertion are epistemic. But not enough attention has been paid to distinguishing epistemic norms from others. Norms in general differ from merely evaluative standards in virtue of the fact that it is fitting to hold subjects accountable for violating them, provided they lack an excuse. Different kinds of norm are most readily distinguished by their distinctive mode of accountability. My thesis is roughly that a norm is epistemic if and (...) only if its violation makes it fitting to reduce epistemic trust in the subject, even if there is no doubt about their sincerity, honesty, or other moral virtues. That is, violations of epistemic norms don’t merit resentment or other forms of blame, but rather deduction of credibility points in internal scorekeeping and related attitudinal and behavioral changes. As Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice shows, such distrust is undesirable from the point of view of an epistemic agent. Consequently, when one manifests epistemic distrust towards a subject in suitable circumstances, it amounts a way of holding her accountable. Since this form of accountability involves no opprobrium, there is good reason to think it is not linked to voluntary control in the same way as moral accountability. Finally, I make use of this account of what makes epistemic norms distinctive to point out some faulty diagnostics in debates about norms of assertion. My aim is not to defend any substantive view, however, but only to offer tools for identifying the right kind of evidence for epistemic norms. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This paper highlights the difference between Lilian Bermejo-Luque’s account of warrants with the quite different accounts of warrants offered by Toulmin, Hitchcock, and myself, and lays out some of the reasons why I think a “Toulminesque” account of warrants captures crucial aspects of arguing more adequately than her account does.RESUMEN: Este artículo subraya la diferencia entre el análisis de los garantes que nos propone Lilian Bermejo-Luque con los de Toulmin, Hitchcok y el mío propio. Presento algunas razones por las (...) que pienso que un análisis toulminiano de los garantes capta mejor que el suyo algunos aspectos cruciales de la argumentación. (shrink)
The study deals with Kant's theory of aesthetics, which is mainly exposed in his "Critique of Judgment". This theory represents one of the most important interpretations of the problem of aesthetic being and is one of the best examples of the Cartesian account of the philosophical foundations of aesthetics. In the submitted study it is emphasized that Kant in his theory relied upon previous aesthetic theories of the 18th century, especially those of the German and English philosophers of the period (...) of the Enlightenment. On the other hand it is stressed that Kant's conception was a great achievement in the field of original philosophical thought. Especially his conception of universal validity of aesthetic judgments apriori was an outstanding example of Kant's ability to find a new original solution of old philosophical problems. Kant's final humanistic account of aesthetics and its close relation to ethics is also very important. (shrink)
In their paper "Remembering," first published in the Philosophical Review in 1966, Martin and Deutscher develop what has since come to be known as the Causal Theory of Memory. The core claim of the Causal Theory of Memory runs as follows: If someone remembers something, whether it be "public," such as a car accident, or "private," such as an itch, then the following criteria must be fulfilled: 1. Within certain limits of accuracy he represents that past thing. 2. I f (...) the thing was "public," then he observed what he now represents. If the thing was "private," then it was his. 3. His past experience of the thing was operative in producing a state or successive states in him finally operative in producing his representation. These three statements express the condition which we consider to be separately necessary and jointly sufficient, if an event is to be an instance of remembering. (shrink)
In recent decades, participants in the debate about whether we are free and responsible agents have tended with increasing frequency to begin their papers or books by fixing the terms “free” and “responsible” in clear ways to avoid misunderstanding. This is an admirable development, and while some misunderstandings have certainly been avoided, and positions better illuminated as a result, new and interesting questions also arise. Two ways of fixing these terms and identifying the underlying concepts have emerged as especially influential, (...) one that takes the freedom required for responsibility to be understood in terms of accountability and the other in terms of desert. In this paper, I start by asking: are theorists talking about the same things, or are they really participating in two different debates? Are desert and accountability mutually entailing? I tentatively conclude that they are in fact mutually entailing. Coming to this conclusion requires making finer distinctions among various more specific and competing accounts of both accountability and desert. Ultimately, I argue, that there is good reason to accept that accountability and desert have the same satisfaction conditions. (shrink)
Justice for human rights violations involves taking into account psychological harm caused to individuals and communities. Justice for psychological harm is specifically grounded in four considerations: (1) that harm to human persons can be both physical and psychological (2) that even in the absence of physical injuries, psychological harm can constitute a human rights violation (3) that those causing psychological harm ought to be accountable, and (4) that claims for justice for harm are supported by human rights principles. One finds (...) that across legal systems, laws align and support these considerations while making justice for psychological harms a matter of rights, well-being, and state responsibility. Human rights practice, literature, and studies highlight the contribution of law and psychology toward justice for psychological harms. Questions of interest to both are whether there is a universal theory on psychological harms to inform matters of justice; whether psychological harm can have a cultural context; whether psychological suffering can have an empirical measure; and whether newer threats like climate anxiety and technology-based harm are being addressed. (shrink)
Approaches to explanation -- Causal and explanatory relevance -- The kairetic account of /D making -- The kairetic account of explanation -- Extending the kairetic account -- Event explanation and causal claims -- Regularity explanation -- Abstraction in regularity explanation -- Approaches to probabilistic explanation -- Kairetic explanation of frequencies -- Kairetic explanation of single outcomes -- Looking outward -- Looking inward.
According to Palazzo and Scherer, the changing role of business corporations in society requires that we take new measures to integrate these organizations into society-wide processes of democratic governance. We argue that their model of integration has a fundamental problem. Instead of treating business corporations as agents that must be held accountable to the democratic reasoning of affected parties, it treats corporations as agents who can hold others accountable. In our terminology, it treats business corporations as “supervising authorities” rather than (...) “functionaries.” The result is that Palazzo and Scherer’s model does not actually address the democratic deficit that it is meant to solve. In order to fix the problem, we advocate removing business corporations from any policymaking role in political CSR and limiting participation to political NGOs and other groups that meet the standards we set out for a politically representative organization (PRO). (shrink)
Calls to hold artificial intelligence to account are intensifying. Activists and researchers alike warn of an “accountability gap” or even a “crisis of accountability” in AI. Meanwhile, several prominent scholars maintain that accountability holds the key to governing AI. But usage of the term varies widely in discussions of AI ethics and governance. This chapter begins by disambiguating some different senses and dimensions of accountability, distinguishing it from neighboring concepts, and identifying sources of confusion. It proceeds (...) to explore the idea that AI operates within an accountability gap arising from technical features of AI as well as the social context in which it is deployed. The chapter also evaluates various proposals for closing this gap. I conclude that the role of accountability in AI ethics and governance is vital but also more limited than some suggest. Accountability’s primary job description is to verify compliance with substantive normative principles—once those principles are settled. Theories of accountability cannot ultimately tell us what substantive standards to account for, especially when norms are contested or still emerging. Nonetheless, formal mechanisms of accountability provide a way of diagnosing and discouraging egregious wrongdoing even in the absence of normative agreement. Providing accounts can also be an important first step toward the development of more comprehensive regulatory standards for AI. (shrink)
Preparers of financial statements are in a position to manipulate the view of economic reality presented in those statements to interested parties. This paper examines two principal categories of manipulative behaviour. The term macro-manipulation is used to describe the lobbying of regulators to persuade them to produce regulation that is more favourable to the interests of preparers. Micro-manipulation describes the management of accounting figures to produce a biased view at the entity level. Both categories of manipulation can be viewed as (...) attempts at creativity by financial statement preparers. The paper analyses two cases of manipulation. First, it describes a recent case of significant and successful lobbying against the accounting regulator in the USA. The second case examines some recent Spanish earnings manipulation to demonstrate the effects of biased reporting at the entity level. Both types of creativity are considered in an ethical context. The paper concludes that the manipulations described in it can be regarded as morally reprehensible. They are not fair to users, they involve an unjust exercise of power, and they tend to weaken the authority of accounting regulators. (shrink)
The ever-increasing application of algorithms to decision-making in a range of social contexts has prompted demands for algorithmic accountability. Accountable decision-makers must provide their decision-subjects with justifications for their automated system’s outputs, but what kinds of broader principles should we expect such justifications to appeal to? Drawing from political philosophy, I present an account of algorithmic accountability in terms of the democratic ideal of ‘public reason’. I argue that situating demands for algorithmic accountability within this justificatory framework (...) enables us to better articulate their purpose and assess the adequacy of efforts toward them. (shrink)
In this paper, I seek to explain Suhrawardī’s method of writing his allegories – how he draws upon his philosophical principles to construct forms and plots of his stories. To do so, I begin by delineating two key doctrines of his Illuminationist (Ishrāqī) ontology: the world of Forms (‘ālam al-muthul) and the discontinuous imaginal world (‘ālam al-mithāl al-munfaṣil). I provide an account of the history of these two doctrines and the nature of these two worlds, and then consider some of (...) their functions for, and effects on, Suhrawardī’s explanations and analyses. I will then deal with Suhrawardī’s allegories, pinpointing particular effects of the belief in the world of Forms and the imaginal world on his symbolisms and allegories. Distinguishing three main spiritual-mystical notions in Suhrawardī’s allegories, I elaborate upon the role of the above two doctrines in his construction of characters and fictional events, whereby I demystify certain symbols in these stories. I conclude that there is a close tie between Suhrawardī’s allegories and his philosophical doctrines. Thus, his spiritual doctrines are presented in a symbolic form in certain allegorical characters and adventures. The deployment of characteristics of the world of Forms and the imaginal world plays a central role here. (shrink)
In this article we explore how multinational corporations (MNCs) adopt assurance practices to develop and sustain organizational accountability for sustainability. Using a panel of Fortune Global 250 firms over a period of 10 years, we document the diffusion patterns of third-party assurance of sustainability reports. We specifically investigate how evolving auditing practices, namely diversity of assurance standards and type of assurance providers, shape the quality of sustainability assurance statements. The results illustrate great variability in the adoption of assurance practices (...) in the formative stages of this novel market. Our descriptive analysis indicates the relevance of external institutional pressure as well as internal resources and capabilities as underlying factors driving the adoption of assurance. Our evidence also suggests that several MNCs project a decoupled or symbolic image of accountability through assurance, thereby undermining the credibility of these verification practices. The paper contributes to the emerging literature on international accountability standards and emphasizes the need to enhance theory-based, cross-disciplinary knowledge related to auditing and accountability processes for sustainability. (shrink)
Gualtiero Piccinini articulates and defends a mechanistic account of concrete, or physical, computation. A physical system is a computing system just in case it is a mechanism one of whose functions is to manipulate vehicles based solely on differences between different portions of the vehicles according to a rule defined over the vehicles. Physical Computation discusses previous accounts of computation and argues that the mechanistic account is better. Many kinds of computation are explicated, such as digital vs. analog, serial vs. (...) parallel, neural network computation, program-controlled computation, and more. Piccinini argues that computation does not entail representation or information processing although information processing entails computation. Pancomputationalism, according to which every physical system is computational, is rejected. A modest version of the physical Church-Turing thesis, according to which any function that is physically computable is computable by Turing machines, is defended. (shrink)
Much of the recent scholarship on the problem of political accountability in Africa leans toward the proposition that it is largely a post-colonial phenomenon that was caused by the destruction of the democratic institutions that were inherited by Africa's political elites. By replacing the democratic institutions they inherited from European colonial powers with quasi-democratic and downright despotic structures, it is argued that African elites became increasingly unaccountable and, in the process, destroyed their otherwise robust economies and impoverished the vast (...) majority of their citizens. In reality, however, the problem of political accountability in Africa is far more complex than that in its origins, character and manifestations. This paper critically examines notions and models of political accountability to demonstrate that the sources of the problem of accountability in Africa are both domestic and external. I argue that, contrary to widespread perception that African states suffer from impunity and lack of accountability, African governments have demonstrated a remarkable degree of responsiveness or accountability in their external relations while remaining virtually unaccountable to their own citizens. Therefore, the solution to the problem of political accountability in Africa should include a combination of internal reforms as well as the concerted support of the international community to generate a robust and sustained demand for accountability of African governments to their citizens. (shrink)
According to John Locke, the conditions of human happiness establish the content of natural law, but God’s commands make it morally binding. This raises two questions. First, why does moral obligation require an authority figure? Second, what gives God authority? I argue that, according to Locke, moral obligation requires an authority figure because to have an obligation is to be accountable to someone. I then argue that, according to Locke, God has a kind of parental authority inasmuch as he is (...) bound by covenant to guide us by revealing the content of the moral law. (shrink)
This paper argues that current accountability mechanisms are inadequate to ensure that straight-commissioned agents meet their fiduciary obligations to their clients. In doing so, using agency theory, it revisits how the straight-commission compensation system creates agents’ dueling loyalties and recommends mechanisms of accountability organizations, agents, and/or clients can recognize and employ to ensure agents’ fiduciary obligations to their clients.
Recent work in moral philosophy has emphasized the foundational role played by interpersonal accountability in the analysis of moral concepts such as moral right and wrong, moral obligation and duty, blameworthiness, and moral responsibility (Darwall 2006; 2013a; 2013b). Extending this framework to the field of moral psychology, we hypothesize that our moral attitudes, emotions, and motives are also best understood as based in accountability. Drawing on a large body of empirical evidence, we argue that the implicit aim of (...) the central moral motives and emotions is to hold people - whether oneself or others - accountable for compliance with the demands of morality. Moral condemnation is based in a motive to get perpetrators to hold themselves accountable for their wrongdoing, not, as is commonly supposed, a mere retributive motive to make perpetrators suffer (�2). And moral conscience is based in a genuine motive to hold oneself accountable for behaving in accordance with moral demands, not, as is commonly supposed, a mere egoistic motive to appear moral to others (�3). The accountability-based theory of the moral motives and emotions we offer provides better explanations of the extant empirical data than any of the major alternative theories of moral motivation. Moreover, conceiving of moral psychology in this way gives us a new and illuminating perspective on what makes morality distinctive: its essential connection to our practice of holding one another accountable (�4). (shrink)
In this essay I analyze some conceptual difficulties associated with the demand that global institutions be made more democratically accountable. In the absence of a world state, it may seem inconsistent to insist that global institutions be accountable to all those subject to their decisions while also insisting that the members of these institutions, as representatives of states, simultaneously remain accountable to the citizens of their own countries for the special responsibilities they have towards them. This difficulty seems insurmountable in (...) light of the widespread acceptance of a state-centric conception of human rights, according to which states and only states bear primary responsibility for the protection of their citizens' rights. Against this conception, I argue that in light of the current structures of global governance the monistic ascription of human rights obligations to states is no longer plausible. Under current conditions, states are bound to fail in their ability to protect the human rights of their citizens whenever potential violations either stem from transnational regulations or are perpetrated by non-state actors. In order to show the plausibility of an alternative, pluralist conception of human rights obligations I turn to the current debate among scholars of international law regarding the human rights obligations of non-state actors. I document the various ways in which these obligations could be legally entrenched in global financial institutions such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank. These examples indicate feasible methods for strengthening the democratic accountability of these institutions while also respecting the accountability that participating member states owe to their own citizens. I conclude that, once the distinctions between the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill human rights are taken into account, no conceptual difficulty remains in holding states and non-state actors accountable for their respective human rights obligations. (shrink)
This essay warns of eroding accountability in computerized societies. It argues that assumptions about computing and features of situations in which computers are produced create barriers to accountability. Drawing on philosophical analyses of moral blame and responsibility, four barriers are identified: 1) the problem of many hands, 2) the problem of bugs, 3) blaming the computer, and 4) software ownership without liability. The paper concludes with ideas on how to reverse this trend.