The impact of smaller firm size on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is ambiguous. Some contend that small businesses are socially responsible by nature, while others argue that a smaller firm size imposes barriers on small firms that constrain their ability to take responsible action. This paper critically analyses recent theoretical and empirical contributions on the size–social responsibility relationship among small businesses. More specifically, it reviews the impact of firm size on four antecedents of business behaviour: issue characteristics, personal characteristics, organizational (...) characteristics and context characteristics. It concludes that the small business context does impose barriers on social responsibility taking, but that the impact of the smaller firm size on social responsibility should be nuanced depending on a number of conditions. From a critical analysis of these conditions, opportunities for small businesses and their constituents to overcome the constraining barriers are suggested. (shrink)
As corporate social responsibility involves a voluntary business endeavour to address social and environmental issues beyond legal compliance, governments cannot fall back on hierarchical command-and-control policies to support it. As such, it is complementary with the increasing popularity of public policies known as New Governance policies, where the government is engaged in a horizontal inter-organizational network of societal actors and where public policy is both formed and executed by the interacting and voluntary efforts from a multitude of stakeholders. However, such (...) policies are known to generate substantive uncertainty about the content of CSR and its related issues, strategic uncertainty regarding the behavior of the actors involved and institutional uncertainty related to the interaction process involved in the institutional change. We explore New Governance policy instruments to address these uncertainties in the context CSR and discuss the experiences with these methods in the European Union. (shrink)
This paper contributes to a growing body of literature analyzing the social responsibilities of SMEs (Sarbutts, 2003, Journal of Communication Management 7(4), 340-347; Castka et al., 2004, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 11, 140-149; Enderle, 2004, Business Ethics: A European Review 14(1), 51-63; Fuller and Tian, 2006, Journal of Business Ethics 67, 287-304; Jenkins, 2006, Journal of Business Ethics 67, 241-256; Lepoutre and Heene, 2006, Journal of Business Ethics 67, 257-273; Roberts, 2003, Journal of Business Ethics 44(2), 159-170; (...) Williamson et al., 2006, Journal of Business Ethics 67, 317-330) by designing a conceptual framework based on the Strategic Management Theory, which links social issues to the creation of sustained competitive advantages for SMEs. Firstly, the paper reviews literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and especially on the creation of social capital for SMEs. An exploration of Strategic Management Theory follows, focusing on the Positioning and Competence Based Schools, with the objective to find an answer to the question: how do social and environmental issues fit in the logic of creation of competitive advantage and what role do they play during strategic planning? The contributions of Hart (natural resourced based view) and Porter and Kramer (development of strategic intent in social responsible actions) are then related to the framework of possible growth paths of SMEs (Hong and Jeong, 2006, Journal of Enterprise Information Management 19(3), 292-302) in order to answer this question. Strategies that could trigger or lever these growth paths are then discussed. Following the recommendation Thompson and Smith (1991, Journal of Small Business Management 29(1), 30-44) gave to focus on the "study of CSR behaviors instead of perceptions," a medium-sized Austrian company in the food producing industry has been identified for an exploratory case study analysis to test the applicability of this theoretical framework for the description of the actual responsible business behavior (RBB) of an SME. This company is typical of one of the 250.000 SMEs which account for 99.6% of the Austrian economy. Based on the findings and the discussion, this paper presents a strategic planning tool for SMEs aiming to embed RBB into the corporate strategy. (shrink)
This is an interview with Professor Sandra Gilbert, undoubtedly one of feminism's most prominent theorists. The interview was conducted in Ghent in the spring of 2000. Sandra Gilbert's name is most often used in conjunction with that of Professor Susan Gubar as the author of The Madwoman in the Attic and the trilogy No Man's Land. In the course of the interview Professor Gilbert talks about the hurdles she had to cross as a young woman academic, the choices she had (...) to make as a mother, her successful collaboration with Susan Gubar and her current, quite controversial viewpoints concerning women's studies versus gender studies and essentialism. (shrink)
It is often said, metaphorically, that belief "aims" at the truth. This paper proposes a normative interpretation of this metaphor. First, the notion of "epistemic norms" is clarified, and reasons are given for the view that epistemic norms articulate essential features of the beliefs that are subject to them. Then it is argued that all epistemic norms--including those that specify when beliefs count as rational, and when they count as knowledge--are explained by a fundamental norm of correct belief, which requires (...) that, if one considers a proposition at all, one should believe it if and only if it is true. (shrink)
What is belief? "Beliefs aim at truth" is the commonly accepted starting point for philosophers who want to give an adequate account of this fundamental state of mind, but it raises as many questions as it answers. For example, in what sense can beliefs be said to have an aim of their own? If belief aims at truth, does it mean that reasons to believe must also be based on truth? Must beliefs be formed on the basis of evidence alone? (...) Is truth the constitutive norm of belief? Does aiming at truth bring in a normative dimension to the nature of belief? How can the aim of truth guide the formation of our beliefs? In what ways do partial beliefs aim at truth? Is truth the aim of epistemic justification? Last but not least, is it knowledge rather than truth which is the fundamental aim of belief? In recent years, pursuing these questions has proved extremely fertile for our understanding of a wide range of current issues in philosophy of mind and action, epistemology, and meta-ethics. The Aim of Belief is the first book to be devoted to this fast-growing topic. It brings together eleven newly commissioned essays by leading authors on the aim of belief. Contributors: Jonathan Adler, Krister Bykvist, Timothy Chan, Pascal Engel, Kathrin Glüer, Anandi Hattiangadi, Michael Hicks, Paul Horwich, David Papineau, Andrew Reisner, Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen, Ralph Wedgwood, Åsa Wikforss, Daniel Whiting. (shrink)
If belief has an aim by being a intentional activity, then it ought to be the case that the aim of belief can be weighed against other aims one might have. However, this is not so with the putative truth aim of belief: from the first-person perspective, one can only be motivated by truth considerations in deliberation over what to believe. From this perspective then, the aim cannot be weighed. This problem is captured by David Owens's Exclusivity Objection to belief (...) having an aim. Conor McHugh has responded to this problem by denying the phenomenon of exclusivity and replacing it with something weaker: demandingness. If deliberation over what to believe is characterised by demandingness and not exclusivity, this allows for the requisite weighing of the truth aim. I argue against such a move by suggesting that where non-evidential considerations play a role in affecting what we believe, these considerations merely change the standards required for believing in a particular context, they do not provide non-evidential reasons for forming or withholding belief, which are considered as such from the deliberative perspective. Exclusivity thus remains, and so too does Owens's objection. (shrink)
An Aims-based Curriculum spells out a ground-breaking alternative to the familiar school curriculum constructed around a number of largely academic subjects. Its starting point is not subjects, but what schools should be for. It argues that aims are not to be seen as high-sounding principles that can be easily ignored: they are the lifeblood of everything a school does. -/- The book begins with general aims to do with equipping each learner to lead a personally fulfilling life, and to help (...) others to do so too. From these, they derive more specific aims covering the personal qualities, skills and understanding needed for a life of personal, civic and vocational well-being. -/- The second half of the book, on political realities of implementation, takes this process of aims-derivation further. Some of its detailed aims, but by no means all, overlap with conventional curriculum objectives. It also looks at the role of the state in curriculum decisions, as well as the implications of the book’s central argument for student choice, school ethos, assessment, inspection and teacher education . (shrink)
In this introductory chapter to the volume The Aim of Belief, the editor surveys the fundamental questions in current debates surrounding the aim of belief, and identifies the major theoretical approaches. The main arguments of the ten contributions to the volume are outlined and located in the context of the existing literature.
Imagine you are casually browsing an online bookstore, looking for an interesting novel. Suppose the store predicts you will want to buy a particular novel: the one most chosen by people of your same age, gender, location, and occupational status. The store recommends the book, it appeals to you, and so you choose it. Central to this scenario is an automated prediction of what you desire. This article raises moral concerns about such predictions. More generally, this article examines the ethics (...) of artificial social cognition—the ethical dimensions of attribution of mental states to humans by artificial systems. The focus is presumptuous aim attributions, which are defined here as aim attributions based crucially on the premise that the person in question will have aims like superficially similar people. Several everyday examples demonstrate that this sort of presumptuousness is already a familiar moral concern. The scope of this moral concern is extended by new technologies. In particular, recommender systems based on collaborative filtering are now commonly used to automatically recommend products and information to humans. Examination of these systems demonstrates that they naturally attribute aims presumptuously. This article presents two reservations about the widespread adoption of such systems. First, the severity of our antecedent moral concern about presumptuousness increases when aim attribution processes are automated and accelerated. Second, a foreseeable consequence of reliance on these systems is an unwarranted inducement of interpersonal conformity. (shrink)
This classic work in the philosophy of physical science is an incisive and readable account of the scientific method. Pierre Duhem was one of the great figures in French science, a devoted teacher, and a distinguished scholar of the history and philosophy of science. This book represents his most mature thought on a wide range of topics.
Belief is generally thought to be the primary cognitive state representing the world as being a certain way, regulating our behavior and guiding us around the world. It is thus regarded as being constitutively linked with the truth of its content. This feature of belief has been famously captured in the thesis that believing is a purposive state aiming at truth. It has however proved to be notoriously difficult to explain what the thesis really involves. In this paper, I begin (...) by critically examining a number of recent attempts to unpack the metaphor. I shall then proceed to highlight an error that seems to cripple most of these attempts. This involves the confusion between, what I call, doxastic and epistemic goals. Finally, having offered my own positive account of the aim-of-belief thesis, I shall underline its deflationary nature by distinguishing between aiming at truth and hitting that target (truth). I end by comparing the account with certain prominent inflationary theories of the nature of belief. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss whether different interpretations of the ‘aim’ of belief—both the teleological and normative interpretations—have the resources to explain certain descriptive and normative features of suspended belief (suspension). I argue that, despite the recent efforts of theorists to extend these theories to account for suspension, they ultimately fail. The implication is that we must either develop alternative theories of belief that can account for suspension, or we must abandon the assumption that these theories ought to be able (...) to account for suspension. To close, I briefly consider some of the reasons we have in favour of pursing each of these options, and I suggest that it is worth exploring the possibility that suspension is best understood as its own attitude, independently of theories of belief’s ‘aim’. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend teleological theories of belief against the exclusivity objection. I argue that despite the exclusive influence of truth in doxastic deliberation, multiple epistemic aims interact when we consider what to believe. This is apparent when we focus on the processes involved in specific instances (or concrete cases) of doxastic deliberation, such that the propositions under consideration are specified. First, I out- line a general schema for weighing aims. Second, I discuss recent attempts to defend the teleological (...) position in relation to this schema. And third, I develop and defend my proposal that multiple epistemic aims interact in doxastic deliberation—a possibility which, as of yet, has received no serious attention in the literature. (shrink)
Deliberative ways of dealing with ethical issues in health care are expanding. Moral case deliberation is an example, providing group-wise, structured reflection on dilemmas from practice. Although moral case deliberation is well described in literature, aims and results of moral case deliberation sessions are unknown. This research shows (a) why managers introduce moral case deliberation and (b) what moral case deliberation participants experience as moral case deliberation results. A responsive evaluation was conducted, explicating moral case deliberation experiences by analysing aims (...) (N = 78) and harvest (N = 255). A naturalistic data collection included interviews with managers and evaluation questionnaires of moral case deliberation participants (nurses). From the analysis, moral case deliberation appeals for cooperation, team bonding, critical attitude towards routines and nurses’ empowerment. Differences are that managers aim to foster identity of the nursing profession, whereas nurses emphasize learning processes and understanding perspectives. We conclude that moral case deliberation influences team cooperation that cannot be controlled with traditional management tools, but requires time and dialogue. Exchanging aims and harvest between manager and team could result in co-creating (moral) practice in which improvements for daily cooperation result from bringing together perspectives of managers and team members. (shrink)
Moral Aims brings together nine previously published essays that focus on the significance of the social practice of morality for what we say as moral theorists, the plurality of moral aims that agents are trying to realize and that sometimes come into tension, and the special difficulties that conventionalized wrongdoing poses.
This chapter outlines improvements and developments made to aim-oriented empiricism since "From Knowledge to Wisdom" was first published in 1984. It argues that aim-oriented empiricism enables us to solve three fundamental problems in the philosophy of science: the problems of induction and verisimilitude, and the problem of what it means to say of a physical theory that it is unified.
I argue that the constitutive aim of belief and the constitutive aim of science are both knowledge. The ‘aim of belief’, understood as the correctness conditions of belief, is to be identified with the product of properly functioning cognitive systems. Science is an institution that is the social functional analogue of a cognitive system, and its aim is the same as that of belief. In both cases it is knowledge rather than true belief that is the product of proper functioning.
Most people aim to be about as morally good as their peers—not especially better, not especially worse. We do not aim to be good, or non-bad, or to act permissibly rather than impermissibly, by fixed moral standards. Rather, we notice the typical behavior of our peers, then calibrate toward so-so. This is a somewhat bad way to be, but it’s not a terribly bad way to be. We are somewhat morally criticizable for having low moral ambitions. Typical arguments defending the (...) moral acceptability of low moral ambitions—the So-What-If-I’m-Not-a-Saint Excuse, the Fairness Objection, the Happy Coincidence Defense, and the claim that you’re already in The-Most-You-Can-Do Sweet Spot—do not survive critical scrutiny. (shrink)
The theory of belief, according to which believing that p essentially involves having as an aim or purpose to believe that p truly, has recently been criticised on the grounds that the putative aim of belief does not interact with the wider aims of believers in the ways we should expect of genuine aims. I argue that this objection to the aim theory fails. When we consider a wider range of deliberative contexts concerning beliefs, it becomes obvious that the aim (...) of belief can interact with and be weighed against the wider aims of agents in the ways required for it to be a genuine aim. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to bring out the effect of economic reforms introduced in India on the direction of virtual water trade. The study also identifies the dual role that virtual water has in an economy. It is a source of export earnings, but at the same time there is a loss of virtual water through agricultural trade. The study is novel in the sense that it not only identifies the trade-off between benefits and costs of virtual water (...) trade for India, but also tries to capture the impact of phases of globalisation on the trade-off. The cost side has serious implications on sustainability and territorial equity. In order to address the issues more coherently, we have to introduce a concept of virtual water miles. Then we argue with intuitive reasoning about the possible effects of virtual water trade on sustainability as well as on territorial equity. (shrink)
This paper primarily deals with theconceptual prospects for generalizing the aim ofabduction from the standard one of explainingsurprising or anomalous observations to that ofempirical progress or even truth approximation. Itturns out that the main abduction task then becomesthe instrumentalist task of theory revision aiming atan empirically more successful theory, relative to theavailable data, but not necessarily compatible withthem. The rest, that is, genuine empirical progress aswell as observational, referential and theoreticaltruth approximation, is a matter of evaluation andselection, and possibly new (...) generation tasks forfurther improvement. The paper concludes with a surveyof possible points of departure, in AI and logic, forcomputational treatment of the instrumentalist taskguided by the `comparative evaluation matrix''. (shrink)
The distinction between basic and applied research is notoriously vague, despite its frequent use in science studies and in science policy. In most cases it is based on such pragmatic factors as the knowledge and intentions of the investigator or the type of research institute. Sometimes the validity of the distinction is denied altogether. This paper suggests that there are two ways of distinguishing systematically between basic and applied research: (i) in terms of the utilities that define the aims of (...) inquiry, and (ii) by reference to the structure of the relevant knowledge claims. An important type of applied research aims at results that are expressed by techical norms (in von Wright's sense): if you wish to achieveA, and you believe you are in a situationB, then you should doX. This conception of design sciences allows us to re-evaluate many issues in the history, philosophy, and ethics of science. (shrink)
This study of Plato's ethics focuses on the concept of virtue. Based on detailed readings of the most prominent Platonic dialogues on virtue, it argues that there is a central yet previously unnoticed conceptual distinction in Plato between the idea of virtue as the supreme aim of one's actions and the determination of which action-tokens or -types are virtuous. Appreciating the 'aiming/determining distinction' provides detailed and mutually consistent readings of the most well-known Platonic dialogues on virtue as well as original (...) interpretations of central Platonic questions. Unlike most examinations of Plato's ethics, this study does not take as its centrepiece the 'eudaimonist framework', which focuses on the relationship between virtue and happiness. Instead, it argues that the dialogues themselves begin with the idea of the supremacy of virtue, examine how that claim can be defended, and address how to determine what constitutes the virtuous action. (shrink)
Neutral Theory is controversial in ecology. Ecologists and philosophers have diagnosed the source of the controversy as: its false assumption that individuals in different species within the same trophic level are ecologically equivalent, its conflict with Competition Theory and the adaptation of species, its role as a null hypothesis, and as a Lakatosian research programme. In this paper, I show why we should instead understand the conflict at the level of research programs which involve more than theory. The Neutralist and (...) Competitionist research programs borrow and construct theories, models, and experiments for various aims and given their home ecological systems. I present a holistic and pragmatic view of the controversy that foregrounds the interrelation between many kinds of practices and decisions in ecological research. (shrink)
This paper discusses Ernest Sosa's account of knowledge and epistemic normativity. The paper has two main parts. The first part identifies places where Sosa's account requires supplementation if it is going to capture important epistemic phenomena. In particular, additional theoretical resources are needed to explain the way in which epistemic aims are genuinely good aims, and the way in which some forms of reasoning can be epistemically better than others even when they are equally conducive to attaining the truth. The (...) second part focuses on Sosa's claim that there is a kind of belief – judgmental belief – that doesn't merely aim at truth but also aims at aptness, and that this kind of belief is central to our mental lives. The paper raises several concerns about this part of Sosa's account, including the concern that aiming at aptness is overly self-directed, and so is more closely tied to vice than epistemic virtue. (shrink)
This paper shows how we can plausibly extend the guise of the good thesis in a way that avoids intellectualist challenge, allows animals to be included, and is consistent with the possibility of performing action under the cognition of their badness. The paper also presents some independent arguments for the plausibility of this interpretation of the thesis. To this aim, a teleological conception of practical attitudes as well as a cognitivist account of arational desires is offered.
This paper explores how the norms of belief relate to the norms of action. The discussion centres on addressing a challenge from positive illusions stating that the demands we face as believers aiming at the truth and the demands we face as agents aiming at success often pull in opposite directions. In response to this challenge, it is argued that the pursuits of aiming at the truth and aiming at success are fully compatible and mutually reinforcing. More specifically, the link (...) between the two takes the form of a two-way connection. In addition to succeeding in virtue of getting it right, it is normatively appropriate to get it right in virtue of succeeding. This two-way connection thesis is supported by a wide scope reading of how the truth norm of belief may be satisfied. On this reading, believing p is permissible both as a result of settling the question of whether p in light of the available evidence and as a result of engaging a believer’s agency in making it the case that p. (shrink)
Over 40 years ago, I put forward a new philosophy of science based on the argument that physics, in only ever accepting unified theories, thereby makes a substantial metaphysical presupposition about the universe, to the effect it possesses an underlying unity. I argued that a new conception of scientific method is required to subject this problematic presupposition to critical attention so that it may be improved as science proceeds. This view has implications for the study of the metaphysics of science. (...) The view has however been ignored by recent contributions to the field. I indicate broader implications of the view, and consider reasons why the view has been neglected. (shrink)
This paper considers an argument from Rosenberg (Thinking about Knowing, 2002) that truth is not and cannot be the aim of belief. Here, I reconstruct what I take to be the most well worked out version of this idea tracing back to Rorty and Davidson. In response, I also distinguish two things the truth-aim could be: a goal regulating our executable epistemic conduct and an end which determines the types of evaluation, susceptibility to which is partially constitutive of what a (...) belief is. (shrink)
The hypothesis that belief aims at the truth has been used to explain three features of belief: (1) the fact that correct beliefs are true beliefs, (2) the fact that rational beliefs are supported by the evidence and (3) the fact that we cannot form beliefs.
I argue that explanations of doxastic transparency which go via an appeal to an aim or norm of belief are problematic. I offer a new explanation which appeals to a biological function of our mechanisms for belief production. I begin by characterizing the phenomenon, and then move to the teleological and normative accounts of belief, advertised by their proponents as able to give an explanation of it. I argue that, at the very least, both accounts face serious difficulties in this (...) endeavour. These difficulties are a function of seeking an explanation of transparency at the agential level, either with the subject aiming at truth, or being guided by a norm of truth. I adopt a motivational account of belief, one which severs the connection between belief and truth, and supplement this with an account of actual world beliefs. My alternative explanation is found at the sub-intentional, non-agential level, secured by biology. This explanation casts transparency not as related to the nature of deliberation over what to believe, but rather as contingently characterizing the beliefs of some believers, namely those with a particular biological history. My explanation thus parts company with what has come before along two dimensions: it moves away from transparency being something related to the agent’s aims or commitments, and it understands it as a contingent phenomenon. I close by considering an objection to my view—that transparency must not be understood as a contingent phenomenon—and a nearby alternative position which avoids this consequence. I respond to this objection and give reasons not to endorse the nearby alternative. I conclude that my explanation does not face the difficulties of those offered by teleologists and normativists, and, that by moving away from agential explanations, and casting transparency as contingent, we can provide a successful explanation of it. (shrink)
Amartya Sen argues that for the advancement of justice identification of ‘perfect’ justice is neither necessary nor sufficient. He replaces ‘perfect’ justice with comparative justice. Comparative justice limits itself to comparing social states with respect to degrees of justice. Sen’s central thesis is that identifying ‘perfect’ justice and comparing imperfect social states are ‘analytically disjoined’. This essay refutes Sen’s thesis by demonstrating that to be able to make adequate comparisons we need to identify and integrate criteria of comparison. This is (...) precisely the aim of a theory of justice (such as John Rawls’s theory): identifying, integrating and ordering relevant principles of justice. The same integrated criteria that determine ‘perfect’ justice are needed to be able to adequately compare imperfect social states. Sen’s alternative approach, which is based on social choice theory, is incapable of avoiding contrary, indeterminate or incoherent directives where plural principles of justice conflict. (shrink)
In this volume, international philosophers of education explore and question diverse strains of the liberal tradition, discussing autonomy and other key issues including social justice, national identity, curriculum, critical thinking and social practices.
For three decades I have expounded and defended aim-oriented empiricism, a view of science which, l claim, solves a number of problems in the philosophy of science and has important implications for science itself and, when generalized, for the whole of academic inquiry, and for our capacity to solve our current global problems. Despite these claims, the view has received scant attention from philosophers of science. Recently, however, David Miller has criticized the view. Miller’s criticisms are, however, not valid.
In this essay, Paula McAvoy critiques a commonly held view that teaching young people to be good choice makers should be a central aim of sex education. Specifically, she argues against David Archard's recommendation that sex educators ought to focus on the development of autonomy and teaching young people that “choice should be accorded the central role in the legitimation of sexual conduct.” Instead, McAvoy argues that under conditions of gender inequality this view advantages boys and disadvantages girls. Juxtaposing a (...) case of a culturally arranged marriage with a spring break scene from Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, McAvoy shows that focusing on sexual choice making obscures and reifies the unequal social conditions that young people navigate. She concludes by suggesting an alternative that is in line with Sharon Lamb's argument in “Just the Facts? The Separation of Sex Education from Moral Education” that intimate encounters are better governed by attending to our ethical obligations to others. (shrink)
It is common to hear talk of the aim of belief and to find philosophers appealing to that aim for numerous explanatory purposes. What belief 's aim explains depends, of course, on what that aim is. Many hold that it is somehow related to truth, but there are various ways in which one might specify belief 's aim using the notion of truth. In this article, by considering whether they can account for belief 's standard of correctness and the epistemic (...) norms governing belief, I argue against certain prominent specifications of belief 's aim given in terms of truth, and advance a neglected alternative. (shrink)