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Essential Vulnerabilities Cover

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Essential Vulnerabilities

Plato and Levinas on Relations to the Other

In Essential Vulnerabilities, Deborah Achtenberg contests Emmanuel Levinas’s idea that Plato is a philosopher of freedom for whom thought is a return to the self. Instead, Plato, like Levinas, is a philosopher of the other. Nonetheless, Achtenberg argues, Plato and Levinas are different. Though they share the view that human beings are essentially vulnerable and essentially in relation to others, they conceive human vulnerability and responsiveness differently. For Plato, when we see beautiful others, we are overwhelmed by the beauty of what is, by the vision of eternal form. For Levinas, we are disrupted by the newness, foreignness, or singularity of the other. The other, for him, is new or foreign, not eternal. The other is unknowable singularity. By showing these similarities and differences, Achtenberg resituates Plato in relation to Levinas and opens up two contrasting ways that self is essentially in relation to others.

Ethical Communication Cover

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Ethical Communication

Moral Stances in Human Dialogue

Clifford G. Christians and John C. Merrill

Proponents of professional ethics recognize the importance of theory but also know that the field of ethics is best understood through real-world applications. This book introduces students and practitioners to important ethical concepts through the lives of major thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Ayn Rand, John Stuart Mill to the Dalai Lama.
            Some two dozen contributors approach media ethics from five perspectives—altruistic, egoistic, autonomous, legalist, and communitarian—and use real people as examples to convey ethical concepts as something more than mere abstractions. Readers see how Confucius represents group loyalty; Gandhi, nonviolent action; Mother Teresa, the spirit of sacrifice. Each profile provides biographical material, the individual’s basic ethical position and contribution, and insight into how his or her moral teachings can help the modern communicator. The roster of thinkers is gender inclusive, ethnically diverse, and spans a broad range of time and geography to challenge the misperception that moral theory is dominated by Western males.
            These profiles challenge us not to give up on moral thinking in our day but to take seriously the abundance of good ideas in ethics that the human race provides. They speak to real-life struggles by applying to such trials the lasting quality of foundational thought. Many of the root values to which they appeal are cross-cultural, even universal.
            Exemplifying these five ethical perspectives through more than two dozen mentors provides today’s communicators with a solid grounding of key ideas for improving discussion and attaining social progress in their lives and work. These profiles convey the diversity of means to personal and social betterment through worthwhile ideas that truly make ethics come alive.

 

Ethics and Professionalism Cover

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Ethics and Professionalism

By John Kultgen

John Kultgen explores the ways morality and professional ideals are connected. In assessing the moral impact of professionalism in our society, he examines both the structure and organization of occupations and the ideals and ideology associated with professions.

Differing from standard treatments of professional ethics, Ethics and Professionalism recognizes that it is the practices within the professions that determine whether rules and ideals are used as masks for self-interest or for genuinely moral purposes.

Ethics and Selfhood Cover

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Ethics and Selfhood

Alterity and the Phenomenology of Obligation

According to James R. Mensch, a minimal requirement for ethics is that of guarding against genocide. In deciding which races are to live and which to die, genocide takes up a standpoint outside of humanity. To guard against this, Mensch argues that we must attain the critical distance required for ethical judgment without assuming a superhuman position. His description of how to attain this distance constitutes a genuinely new reading of the possibility of a phenomenological ethics, one that involves reassessing what it means to be a self. Selfhood, according to Mensch, involves both embodiment and the self-separation brought about by our encounter with others—the very others who provide us with the experiential context needed for moral judgment. Buttressing his position with documented accounts of those who hid Jews during the Holocaust, Mensch shows how the self-separation that occurs in empathy opens the space within which moral judgment can occur and obligation can find its expression. He includes a reading of the major moral philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Arendt, Levinas—even as he develops a phenomenological account of the necessity of reading literature to understand the full extent of ethical responsibility. Mensch’s work offers an original and provocative approach to a topic of fundamental importance.

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Ethics & the Environment

Vol. 4 (1999) through current issue

Ethics & the Environment is an interdisciplinary forum for theoretical and practical articles, discussions, reviews, and book reviews in the broad area encompassed by environmental ethics. Topics include conceptual approaches in ethical theory and ecological philosophy, such as deep ecology and ecological feminism as they pertain to such environmental issues as environmental education and management, ecological economies, and ecosystem health.

Ethics at a Standstill Cover

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Ethics at a Standstill

History and Subjectivity in Levinas and the Frankfurt School

By Asher Horowitz

In Ethics at a Standstill, Asher Horowitz explores the philosophies of Levinas and the critical theorists of the Frankfurt School, demonstrating the ways in which their works diverge from and complement each other. Not simply a comparative study in which approaches are compared and contrasted, nor an attempt to blend or synthesize thinkers with quite distinct aims and methods, the book suggests, rather, that Levinas and the Frankfurt School tend toward each other, that each speaks to the desire that the other already exhibits.

Demonstrating an authoritative command of both the thinkers themselves—including Benjamin, Horkheimer, and Marcuse—and the various philosophical contexts in which they are embedded, Horowitz offers a politically thoughtful and philosophically provocative analysis based on a wide range of texts and a critical reconstruction and confrontation between the positions.

Ethics at Work Cover

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Ethics at Work

Creating Virtue at an American Corporation

Daniel Terris

The defense industry has, to some people's surprise, the broadest and most sustained set of ethics programs of any sector of American business today. Lockheed Martin, which specializes in a host of high-technology products and services for the federal government, has dramatically escalated its formal ethics and business conduct program since the mega-corporation was formed through a merger in 1995. The Ethics and Business Conduct Division employs 65 "ethics officers" in sites around the United States, and it requires the firm's 130,000-plus employees to devote at least one hour per year to consideration of the ethical issues of the business, at a cost of millions of dollars per year.

Daniel Terris spent two years researching Lockheed Martin materials and interviewing its ethics officers and ordinary employees to develop this rich case study of the ethics program at this powerful global corporation. This study begins with a survey of American attitudes toward ethics in business over the past century, raising the question of whether ethics can be genuinely built into the modern mega-corporation. Terris then develops a portrait of Lockheed Martin--its history and the nature of its far-flung businesses--turning at last to its ethics program, which was created following a series of bribery, overcharging, and corruption scandals in the 1970s and 1980s.

By 1996, Lockheed Martin had in place some dull, preachy ethics programs designed to provide basic information on telling right from wrong in business practice. But then-CEO Norm Augustine wanted to liven things up, so he turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: the irreverent Dilbert comic strip. The company came up with a board game that resembled Clue, but used Dilbert characters to explore ethical case studies drawn from real-life Lockheed Martin incidents. Terris examines the success of the board game, as well as subsequent efforts including special workshops, a film festival, and biennial ethics surveys to engage employees in broad-based discussions of ethics at work.

Although Terris applauds Lockheed Martin's ethics program as "gloriously democratic" in its focus on the responsibility of every worker for the ethical dimensions of his or her actions, he is concerned that the broad-based focus tends to divert attention from the ethical responsibilities of senior management and the moral complexities of collective decision-making. While he admires the ambitious scope of the program, he notes that the corporation's definition of "ethics" focuses on individual behavior rather than on the impact of the corporation's broader policies on local, national, and global communities. The ultimate effect of such programs may be to create more ethical business practices--but, ironically, at the expense of the public good.

Ethics in Light of Childhood Cover

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Ethics in Light of Childhood

John Wall

Childhood faces humanity with its own deepest and most perplexing questions. An ethics that truly includes the world's childhoods would transcend pre-modern traditional communities and modern rational autonomy with a postmodern aim of growing responsib

Ethics, Love, and Faith in Kierkegaard Cover

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Ethics, Love, and Faith in Kierkegaard

Philosophical Engagements

Edited by Edward F. Mooney

Ethics, Love, and Faith in Kierkegaard collects essays from 13 leading scholars that center on key themes that characterize Kierkegaard's philosophy of religion. With their unique focus on notions of the self, views on the command to love one's neighbor, thoughts on melancholy and despair, and the articulation of religious vision, the essays in this volume cover the breadth and depth of Kierkegaard's philosophical and religious writings. Poised at the intersection of Kierkegaard's moral psychology and its religious significance, they offer vivid testimony to the ongoing power of his unique and fervent religious spirit. Students and scholars alike will find new light shed on questions that define Kierkegaard's philosophy and religion today.

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