•  637
    Pangloss Identified
    French Studies Bulletin 84 (Autumn): 7-10. 2002.
    Scholars have associated the character of Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide variously with the ideas of Gottfried Leibniz, Alexander Pope, and Christian Wolff. With them he is associated, but on whom is he modeled? Pangloss is the image of a French popularizer of science celebrated in his day but little noticed in ours: Noël Antoine Pluche (1688-1761), the author of a highly popular work, Le Spectacle de la Nature.
  •  452
    Multinational corporations and the social contract
    Journal of Business Ethics 31 (3). 2001.
    The constitutions of many nations have been explicitly or implicitly founded upon principles of the social contract derived from Thomas Hobbes. The Hobbesian egoism at the base of the contract fairly accurately represents the structure of market enterprise. A contractarian analysis may, then, allow for justified or rationally acceptable universal standards to which businesses should conform. This paper proposes general rational restrictions upon multi-national enterprises, and includes a critiqu…Read more
  •  419
    Descartes And The Possibility Of Science (review)
    Isis 93 (3): 485-486. 2002.
    How must we and the world be constituted if science is possible? René Descartes had some ideas: For example, he wrote in 1639 to Marin Mersenne, “The imagination, which is the part of the mind that most helps mathematics, is more of a hindrance than a help in metaphysical speculation.” In another missive he suggested that, “besides [local] memory, which depends on the body, I believe there is also another one, entirely intellectual, which depends on the soul alone” (pp. 59, 52). Peter Schouls m…Read more
  •  404
    Introduction: The 2030 Agenda
    Journal of Global Ethics 11 (3): 262-269. 2015.
    (Article part 2 of 2) This introduction notes the contributions of authors to the second issue of the Journal of Global Ethics 2015 Sustainable Development Goals Forum. It briefly explains the process through which the Sustainable Development Goals have developed from their receipt in 2014 to their passage in September 2015 by the UN General Assembly, and it considers their development in prospect. The Millennium Development Goals, which spanned 1990–2015, present a case study that reveals the …Read more
  •  399
    How to Succeed in Science While Really, Really Trying: The Central European Savant of the Mid-Eighteenth Century (review)
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5 (1): 167-73. 2015.
    What is the scientist’s work? Philosophers may turn to theory and to its relation to observation; historians are more inclined to turn to the scientists themselves and the situation the scientists find themselves in. Why do scientists work as they do, and what effect does the world they inhabit have on their productivity and their product? Those are more the historians’ questions. They might appear to converge with the philosophers’ own in this: What does it take to be a successful scientist? Ye…Read more
  •  376
    Introduction: The Sustainable Development Goals Forum
    Journal of Global Ethics 11 (1): 3-9. 2015.
    (Article part 1 of 2) This introduction notes the contributions of various authors to the first issue of the Journal of Global Ethics 2015 Forum and briefly explains the United Nations process through which the sustainable development goals have been formulated up to the receipt by the General Assembly, in August 2014, of the Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals. The goals are identified as a confluence of distinct streams of UN work attended …Read more
  •  314
    Corporate Responsibility and Freedom
    International Corporate Responsibility Series 3 25-33. 2007.
    Milton Friedman’s famous comment on Corporate Social Responsibility is that “there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.” I reply to Friedman, Michael Jensen, and others, in argument that accepts their implicit premise—that business can be a virtuous mechanism of free society—but that denies their delimitation of responsibility. The reply hinges upon precisely t…Read more
  •  310
    (Pre-publication draft November 2015: Partial content of "Introduction: The 2030 Agenda," Journal of Global Ethics 11:3 [December 2015], 262-270) This introduction briefly explains the process through which the Sustainable Development Goals have developed from their receipt in 2014 to their passage in September 2015 by the UN General Assembly, and it considers their development in prospect. The Millennium Development Goals, which spanned 1990-2015, present a case study that reveals the changeabi…Read more
  •  274
    Lakatos’ “Internal History” as Historiography
    Perspectives on Science 1 (4). 1993.
    Imre Lakatos' conception of the history of science is explicated with the purpose of replying to criticism leveled against it by Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking, and others. Kuhn's primary argument is that the historian's internal—external distinction is methodologically superior to Lakatos' because it is "independent" of an analysis of rationality. That distinction, however, appears to be a normative one, harboring an implicit and unarticulated appeal to rationality, despite Kuhn's claims to the contr…Read more
  •  273
    Philosophy of Science and History of Science: A Productive Engagement
    Dissertation, University of California, San Diego. 1991.
    Philosophy of science and history of science both have a significant relation to science itself; but what is their relation to each other? That question has been a focal point of philosophical and historical work throughout the second half of this century. An analysis and review of the progress made in dealing with this question, and especially that made in philosophy, is the focus of this thesis. Chapter one concerns logical positivist and empiricist approaches to philosophy of science, and the…Read more
  •  265
    Case study for Business Ethics, 5000 words. Considers the state of the payday lending market in USA and Canada as of March 2018. Suitable for undergraduate or business school use. Includes the discussion of: Storefront and online payday lending in state/province and national contexts. Applicability of the concept of exploitation to payday lending. Alternatives to payday lending ("Payday Alternative Loans" provided through credit unions, and savings incentive programs that reduce demand for pay…Read more
  •  258
    Descartes' Rules and the Workings of the Mind
    North American Kant Society 269-282. 1997.
    I briefly consider why Descartes stopped work on the _Rules_ towards the end of my paper. My main concern is to accurately characterize the project represented in the _Rules_, especially in its relation to early-modern logic.
  •  230
    The Limits of Cartesian Doubt
    Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 4 1-20. 1997.
    What did Descartes regard as subject to doubt, and what was beyond doubt, in the Meditations? A review of the Objections and Descartes' reactions in the Replies provides some useful clarification, but viewing Descartes' method of doubt in conjunction with his professed theory of knowledge in the Rules for the Direction of the Mind further elucidates his own understanding of the project. In the Rules, Descartes introduces the mind's intuition of "simple natures" as the atomistic basis of all know…Read more
  •  222
    Descartes on Nothing in Particular
    In Rocco J. Gennaro & Charles Huenemann (eds.), New Essays on the Rationalists, Oxford University Press. pp. 26-47. 1999.
    How coherent is Descartes' conception of vacuum in the Principles? Descartes' arguments attacking the possibility of vacuum are difficult to read and to understand because they reply to several distinct threads of discussion. I separate two strands that have received little careful attention: the scholastic topic of annihilation of space, particularly represented in Albert of Saxony, and the physical arguments concerning vacuum in Galileo that are also continued after the publication of the Prin…Read more
  •  200
    This chapter presents a historical study of how science has developed and of how philosophical theories of many sorts – philosophy of science, theory of the understanding, and philosophical theology – both enable and constrain certain lines of development in scientific practice. Its topic is change in the legitimacy or acceptability of scientific explanation that invokes purposes, or ends; specifically in the argument from design, in the natural science field of physico-theology, around the star…Read more
  •  186
    The Balance of Sovereignty and Common Goods Under Economic Globalization
    Philosophy in the Contemporary World 12 (2): 46-52. 2005.
    Common goods and political sovereignty of nation-states are intertwined, since without government the orderly treatment of common goods would be unlikely. But large corporations, especially global multinationals, reshape and restrict national sovereignty through economic forces. Consequently, corporations have specific social responsibilities. This article articulates those responsibilities as they pertain to managing common goods.
  •  186
    Real Institutions and Really Legitimate Institutions
    In David Mark, Bary Smith & Isaac Ehrlich (eds.), The mystery of capital and the construction of social reality, Open Court. pp. 331-347. 2008.
    This essay develops a thesis regarding the manner through which social institutions such as property come to be, and a second thesis regarding how such institutions ought to be legitimated. The two theses, outlined below, are in need of explication largely because of the entrenched cultural influence of an erroneous reading of social contract theory concerning the historical origins of the state. In part A, I introduce that error. I proceed in parts B and C to present two central theses about in…Read more
  •  172
    Real Corporate Responsibility
    In John Hooker & Peter Madsen (eds.), International Corporate Responsibility Series, Carnegie Mellon University Press. pp. 69-84. 2004.
    The Call for Papers for this conference suggests the topic, “international codes of business conduct.” This paper is intended to present a shift from a discussion of codes, or constraints to be placed upon business, to an entirely different topic: to responsibility, which yields duty, and the reciprocal concept, right. Beyond the framework of external regulation and codes of conduct, voluntary or otherwise, lies another possible accounting system: one of real corporate responsibility, which aris…Read more
  •  112
    Vulnerable due to hope: aspiration paradox as a cross-cultural concern
    Conference Publication, International Development Ethics Association 10th Conference: Development Ethics Contributions for a Socially Sustainable Future. 2014.
    (Conference proceedings 2014) This presentation (International Development Ethics Association, July 2014) considers economic vulnerability, exploring the risk of deprivation of necessary resources due to a complex and rarely discussed vulnerability that arises from hope. Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological account of French petit-bourgeois aspiration in The Social Structures of the Economy has recently inspired Wendy Olsen to introduce the term “aspiration paradox” to characterize cases wherein “a bo…Read more
  •  106
    What is development?
    In Lori Keleher & Stacy Kosko (eds.), Ethics, agency and democracy in global development, Cambridge University Press. pp. 49-74. 2019.
    This chapter examines the relation of the Human Development or Capability Approach to liberal political theory. If development is enhancement of capabilities, then this chapter adds that development is human and social: development includes (1) the creation of value as a social process that is (2) a dialectical product of people in their relations. Specifically: (1) The place of the individual within political theory must be revised if the political subject is, as Carol Gould argues, an “individ…Read more
  •  98
    USA and Canada: high income maldevelopment
    In Jay Drydyk & Lori Keleher (eds.), Handbook of Development Ethics, Routledge. pp. 416-423. 2018.
    This 4000 word entry to Routledge’s Handbook of Development Ethics (Jay Drydyk & Lori Keleher, eds., 2018) considers development within United States of America and Canada. Indigenous peoples and their nations are also featured. Canada and USA are both characterized by the UN Development Program as maintaining very high human development. Addressable weaknesses are nevertheless evident when performance is compared, for example, with OECD member nations. This entry focuses upon such comparison, …Read more
  •  54
    (Unpublished writing, 2007) This article briefly introduces a new argument concerning corporate social responsibility, based in an analysis of values expressed by the recent and contemporary liberal economists Milton Friedman and Michael Jensen. I will provide the gist of the argument by considering implications of Friedman’s very familiar view, that “…there is one and only one social responsibility of business - to use its resources and engage in activities to increase its profits so long as it…Read more
  •  51
    Jonathan I. Israel claims that Christian ‘controversialists’ endeavoured first to obscure or efface Spinozism, materialism, and non-authoritarian free thought, and then, in the early eighteenth century, to fight these openly, and desperately. Israel appears to have adopted the view of enlightenment as a battle against what Voltaire has called ‘l’infâme’, and David Hume has labelled ‘stupidity, Christianity, and ignorance’. These authors’ barbs were launched later in the century, however, in the …Read more
  •  50
    This entry provides an overview of business responsibilities with regard to international development and human and social development in less developed nations. Areas of ethical concern have grown in variety and complexity as understanding of development has changed from such narrow economic treatment in the era following World War II to the present. This entry traces that growth and considers responsibilities of multinational business engaging directly with and subcontracting in the developing…Read more
  •  46
    Vulnerability and empowerment are central concepts of contemporary development theory and ethics. Vulnerability associated with human interdependence is a wellspring of values in care ethics, while vulnerability arising from social problems demands remedy, of which empowerment is frequently the just form. Development planners and aid providers focus upon improving the wellbeing of the most vulnerable – especially women – by empowering them economically, socially and politically. -/- Both vulnera…Read more
  •  44
    This entry focuses upon the current state of microlending activity, and particularly for-profit activity, with ethical analysis of such lending, particularly as it pertains to prospects for poverty alleviation and development for the global poor. Several specific events have lately altered the characteristics of microlending and the general assessments of its prospects: most notably the collapse of the for-profit microfinance market in Andhra Pradesh late in 2010 and research previously pursued …Read more
  •  42
    Legitimate Social Demands on Corporations
    Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 17 151-154. 2006.
    The classic formulation of doubt regarding the appropriateness of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as voiced by Milton Friedman, is that “…there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game…” I present a reply to Friedman, and to others, that accepts their implicit premise – that business, including globalizing business activity, can be a virtuous mechanism of f…Read more
  •  42
    Candide (edited book)
    with François-Marie Arouet Voltaire
    Broadview. 2009.
    Voltaire’s classic novel Candide relates the misadventures of a young optimist who leaves his sheltered childhood to find his way in a cruel and irrational world. Fast-paced and full of dark humor, the novel mocks the suggestion that “all is well” and challenges us to create a better world. This Broadview Edition follows the text of a 1759 English translation that was released concurrently with Voltaire's first French edition. Candide is supplemented by Voltaire's most important poetic and human…Read more
  •  33
    As duas formulacoes do imperative categorico de Kant, leativas a universalizabilidade de aco e a direcao da acao para os fins em si mesmos, nao sao logicalmente equivalentes. John Rawls e Jurgen Habermas exploram a divisao de Kant em seus esforcos para promover politicas liberais e politicas justificaveis na justica processual. Mas, ao mesmo tempo, levam a um rompimento com a abordagem de Kant – a aceitacao de uma divisao entre o etico e o legal. O presente artigo argumenta ser possivel reconstr…Read more
  •  31
    The Andhra Pradesh Microfinance Crisis and American Payday Lending: Two studies in vulnerability
    Révue Ethique Et Economique / Ethics and Economics 10 (2): 44-57. 2013.
    Microcredit, a non-profit lending approach that is often championed as a source of women’s inclusion and empowerment, has in the past decade been followed by microfinance, a forprofit sibling of a different temperament. Microfinance in India is now in turmoil, precipitated by legislation in the state of Andhra Pradesh, which has encouraged withholding of payment, which in turn has frozen the market. This paper considers one precipitating condition of the crisis: the remarkable, new, and develo…Read more