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History and Subjectivity in Levinas and the Frankfurt School
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.
Creating Virtue at an American Corporation
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.
The Morality of Roles in Public and Professional Life
The adversary professions--law, business, and government, among others--typically claim a moral permission to violate persons in ways that, if not for the professional role, would be morally wrong. Lawyers advance bad ends and deceive, business managers exploit and despoil, public officials enforce unjust laws, and doctors keep confidences that, if disclosed, would prevent harm. Ethics for Adversaries is a philosophical inquiry into arguments that are offered to defend seemingly wrongful actions performed by those who occupy what Montaigne called "necessary offices."
Applbaum begins by examining the career of Charles-Henri Sanson, who is appointed executioner of Paris by Louis XVI and serves the punitive needs of the ancien régime for decades. Come the French Revolution, the King's Executioner becomes the king's executioner, and he ministers with professional detachment to each defeated political faction throughout the Terror and its aftermath. By exploring one extraordinary role and the arguments that can be offered in its defense, Applbaum raises unsettling doubts about arguments in defense of less sanguinary professions and their practices.
To justify harmful acts, adversaries appeal to arguments about the rules of the game, fair play, consent, the social construction of actions and actors, good outcomes in equilibrium, and the legitimate authority of institutions. Applbaum concludes that these arguments are weaker than supposed and do not morally justify much of the violation that professionals and public officials inflict. Institutions and the roles they create ordinarily cannot mint moral permissions to do what otherwise would be morally prohibited.
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.
Among Them, but Not of Them
Autism is one of the most compelling, controversial, and heartbreaking cognitive disorders. It presents unique philosophical challenges as well, raising intriguing questions in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and philosophy of language that need to be explored if the autistic population is to be responsibly served. Starting from the "theory of mind" thesis that a fundamental deficit in autism is the inability to recognize that other persons have minds, Deborah R. Barnbaum considers its implications for the nature of consciousness, our understanding of the consciousness of others, meaning theories in philosophy of language, and the modality of mind. This discussion lays the groundwork for consideration of the value of an autistic life, as well as the moral theories available to persons with autism. The book also explores questions about genetic decision making, research into the nature of autism, and the controversial quest for a cure. This is a timely and wide-ranging book on a disorder that commends itself to serious ethical examination.
Christianity, Ecology, and the Variety of Life
Life on earth is wildly diverse, but the future of that diversity is now in question. Through environmentally destructive farming practices, ever-expanding energy use, and the development and homogenization of land, human beings are responsible for unprecedented reductions in the variety of life forms around us. Estimates suggest that species extinctions caused by humans occur at up to 1,000 times the natural rate, and that one of every twenty species on the planet could be eradicated by 2060. An Ethics of Biodiversity argues that these facts should inspire careful reflection and action in Christian churches, which must learn from earthÆs vast diversity in order to help conserve the natural and social diversity of our planet. Bringing scientific data into conversation with theological tradition, the book shows that biodiversity is a point of intersection between faith and ethics, social justice and environmentalism, science and politics, global problems and local solutions. An Ethics of Biodiversity offers a set of tools for students, environmentalists, and people of faith to think critically about how human beings can live with and as part of the variety of life in God's creation.
The second edition includes a new preface and introduction, as well as a bibliographic essay and an updated list of references incorporating relevant scholarship since the publication of the first edition.
Hermann Cohen’s essay on Maimonides’ ethics is one of the most fundamental texts of twentieth-century Jewish philosophy, correlating Platonic, prophetic, Maimonidean, and Kantian traditions. Almut Sh. Bruckstein provides the first English translation and her own extensive commentary on this landmark 1908 work, which inspired readings of medieval and rabbinic sources by Leo Strauss, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas.
Cohen rejects the notion that we should try to understand texts of the past solely in the context of their own historical era. Subverting the historical order, he interprets the ethical meanings of texts in the light of a future yet to be realized. He commits the entire Jewish tradition to a universal socialism prophetically inspired by ideals of humanity, peace, and universal justice.
Through her own probing commentary on Cohen’s text, like the margin notes of a medieval treatise, Bruckstein performs the hermeneutical act that lies at the core of Cohen’s argument: she reads Jewish sources from a perspective that recognizes the interpretive act of commentary itself.