The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the moral problems that arise out of the interrelationships between individuals and formal organizations in our society. In particular, I shall be concerned with the moral implications of the so-called ideal of rationality of formal organizations with regard to, on the one hand, the obligations of individuals both inside and outside an organization to that organization and, on the other hand, the moral responsibilities of organizations to individuals and to the (...) public at large. I shall argue that certain facets of the organizational ideal are incompatible with the ordinary principles of morality and that the dilemma created by this incompatibility is one source of alienation in our contemporary, industrial society. The very conception of a formal organization or bureaucracy presents us with an ideological challenge that desperately needs to be met in some way or other. (shrink)
Herodotus. Custom is king.--Engels, F. Ethics and law: eternal truths.--Sumner, W. G. Folkways.--Ross, W. D. The meaning of right.--Duncker, K. Ethical relativity?--Herskovits, M. J. Cultural relativism and cultural values.--Kluckhohn, C. Ethical relativity: sic et non.--Taylor, P. W. Social science and ethical relativism.--Ladd, J. The issue of relativism.--Redfield, R. The universally human and the culturally variable.--Bibliography (p. 145-146).
This book, originally published in 1973 by Wadsworth, is a collection of important past and present discussions of ethical relativism designed to bring out the diversity and controversial nature of the issues.
AI designers endeavour to improve ‘autonomy’ in artificial intelligent devices, as recent developments show. This chapter firstly argues against attributing metaphysical attitudes to AI and, simultaneously, in favor of improving autonomous AI which has been enabled to respect autonomy in human agents. This seems to be the only responsible way of making further advances in the field of autonomous social AI. Let us examine what is meant by claims such as designing our artificial alter egos and sharing moral selves with (...) artificial humanoid devices. (shrink)
Any discussion of the relations between anthropology and ethics leads inevitably to the ticklish issue of relativism. Even when not explicitly recognized as such, this issue has been the skeleton in the closet for every philosophical moralist since the time of Plato and the Sophists; for the critical implications of the fact of the diversity and discordance between moral precepts and moral codes in different societies are inescapable. Yet it is difficult to pin down the precise relevance of these differences (...) for morals. To the layman it seems obvious that the lack of universal agreement concerning morals derogates somehow from their validity; in particular he is ready to think twice about a moral precept if it appears to him as a purely local or provincial custom. And yet, on the other hand, he is willing to acknowledge some truth in the ancient maxim: “When in Rome do as the Romans do”! Thus already for the layman there is a kind of ambiguous message conveyed by the facts of cultural relativism. Quite significantly, however, this same kind of ambiguity is incorporated into the leading ideology of our times, namely Marxism, which, as ‘scientific socialism’, is based on the relativity of ideologies and social relations. (shrink)
In order to avoid trivializing moral issues concerning mentoring, a specialized “strong” concept of a Mentor is proposed that is based on the original model in Homer’s Odyssey. It is argued that mentorship embodies a highly personal and bonding relationship that comes as a free gift and is based on an affinity of some sort. It is further argued that morally such a relationship may be especially appropriate in a racial setting.