Social action is central to social thought. This centrality reflects the overwhelming causal significance of action for social life, the centrality of action to any account of social phenomena, and the fact that conventions and normativity are features of human activity. This book provides philosophical analyses of fundamental categories of human social action, including cooperative action, conventional action, social norm governed action, and the actions of the occupants of organizational roles. A distinctive feature of the book is that it applies (...) these theories of social action categories to some important moral issues that arise in social contexts such as the collective responsibility for environmental pollution, humanitarian intervention, and dealing with the rights of minority groups. Avoiding both the excessively atomistic individualism of rational choice theorists and implausible collectivist assumptions, this important book will be widely read by philosophers of the social sciences, political scientists and sociologists. (shrink)
In this book, Seumas Miller examines the moral foundations of contemporary social institutions. Offering an original general theory of social institutions, he posits that all social institutions exist to realize various collective ends, indeed, to produce collective goods. He analyses key concepts such as collective responsibility and institutional corruption. Miller also provides distinctive special theories of particular institutions, including governments, welfare agencies, universities, police organizations, business corporations, and communications and information technology entities. These theories are philosophical and, thus, foundational and (...) synoptic in character. They are normative accounts of a sampling of contemporary social institutions, not descriptive accounts of all social institutions, both past and present. Miller also addresses various ethical challenges confronting contemporary institutional designers and policymakers, including the renovation of the international financial system, the 'dumbing down' of the media, the challenge of world poverty, and human rights infringements by security agencies combating global terrorism. (shrink)
The dual-use dilemma arises in the context of research in the biological and other sciences as a consequence of the fact that one and the same piece of scientific research sometimes has the potential to be used for bad as well as good purposes. It is an ethical dilemma since it is about promoting good in the context of the potential for also causing harm, e.g., the promotion of health in the context of providing the wherewithal for the killing of (...) innocents. It is an ethical dilemma for the researcher because of the potential actions of others, e.g., malevolent non-researchers who might steal dangerous biological agents, or make use of the original researcher’s work. And it is a dilemma for governments concerned with the security of their citizens, as well as their health. In this article we construct a taxonomy of types of “experiments of concern” in the biological sciences, and thereby map the terrain of ethical risk. We then provide a series of analyses of the ethical problems and considerations at issue in the dual-use dilemma, including the impermissibility of certain kinds of research and possible restrictions on dissemination of research results given the risks to health and security. Finally, we explore the main available institutional responses to some of the specific ethical problems posed by the dual-use dilemma in the biological sciences. (shrink)
This book deals with the problem of dual-use science research and technology. It first explains the concept of dual use and then offers analyses of collective knowledge and collective ignorance. It goes on to present a theory of collective responsibility, followed by four chapters focusing on a particular scientific field or industry of dual use concern: the chemical industry, the nuclear industry, cyber-technology and the biological sciences. The problem of dual-use science research and technology arises because such research and technology (...) has the potential to be used for great evil as well as for great good. On the one hand, knowledge is a necessary condition, and perhaps a constitutive feature, of technologies that contribute greatly to individual and collective well-being. Consider, for example, nuclear technology that enables the generation of low cost electricity in populations without obvious alternative energy sources. So technological knowledge is a good thing and ignorance of it a bad thing. On the other hand, these same technologies can be extremely harmful to individuals and collectives, as with the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, at least with respect to some technologies evidently knowledge is a bad thing and ignorance a good thing. Accordingly, the question arises as to whether we ought to limit scientific research and/or the development of technology and, if so, which research or technology, in what manner and to what extent. This book examines the answer to that question. (shrink)
In this book, Seumas Miller develops distinctive philosophical analyses of corruption, collective responsibility and integrity systems, and applies them to cases in both the public and the private sectors. Using numerous well-known examples of institutional corruption, he explores a variety of actual and potential anti-corruption measures. The result is a wide-ranging, theoretically sophisticated and empirically informed work on institutional corruption and how to combat it. Part I defines the key concepts of corruption, power, collective responsibility, bribery, abuse of authority and (...) nepotism; Part II discusses anti-corruption and integrity systems, corruption investigations and whistle-blowing; and Part III focuses on corruption and anti-corruption in specific institutional settings, namely policing, finance, business and government. Integrating theory with practical approaches, this book will be important for those interested in the philosophy and ethics of corruption as well as for those who work to combat it. (shrink)
Many of our interactions in the twenty-first century - both good and bad - take place by means of institutions, technology, and artefacts. We inhabit a world of implements, instruments, devices, systems, gadgets, and infrastructures. Technology is not only something that we make, but is also something that in many ways makes us. The discipline of ethics must take this constitutive feature of institutions and technology into account; thus, ethics must in turn be embedded in our institutions and technology. The (...) contributors to this book argue that the methodology of 'designing in ethics' - addressing and resolving the issues raised by technology through the use of appropriate technological design - is the way to achieve this integration. They apply their original methodology to a wide range of institutions and technologies, using case studies from the fields of healthcare, media and security. Their volume will be important for philosophical practitioners and theorists alike. (shrink)
This paper examines workplace surveillance and monitoring. It is argued that privacy is a moral right, and while such surveillance and monitoring can be justified in some circumstances, there is a presumption against the infringement of privacy. An account of privacy precedes consideration of various arguments frequently given for the surveillance and monitoring of employees, arguments which look at the benefits, or supposed benefits, to employees as well as to employers. The paper examines the general monitoring of work, and the (...) monitoring of email, listservers and the World Wide Web. It is argued that many of the common justifications given for this surveillance and monitoring do not stand up to close scrutiny. (shrink)
Biometric facial recognition is an artificial intelligence technology involving the automated comparison of facial features, used by law enforcement to identify unknown suspects from photographs and closed circuit television. Its capability is expanding rapidly in association with artificial intelligence and has great potential to solve crime. However, it also carries significant privacy and other ethical implications that require law and regulation. This article examines the rise of biometric facial recognition, current applications and legal developments, and conducts an ethical analysis of (...) the issues that arise. Ethical principles are applied to mediate the potential conflicts in relation to this information technology that arise between security, on the one hand, and individual privacy and autonomy, and democratic accountability, on the other. These can be used to support appropriate law and regulation for the technology as it continues to develop. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the relationship between joint epistemic action and collective moral responsibility. Here, we need to distinguish between the genus, joint action, and an important species of joint action which I introduced in some earlier work, namely, joint epistemic action. In the case of the latter, but not necessarily the former, participating agents have epistemic goals, e.g. the acquisition of knowledge. The notion of joint action per se is a familiar one in the philosophical literature, albeit I (...) have provided, and defended, a particular analysis of it. However, the notion of joint epistemic action is a novel one. Nevertheless, I argue that it can be given the same kind of analysis as joint action which is not epistemic in character. The other key notion in play in this paper is that of collective moral responsibility. Over the last decade or two this notion has been receiving a good deal of attention in the philosophical literature. Two influential kinds of theory are non-individualist cor.. (shrink)
The notion of a joint action is a familiar one in the philosophical literature. Moreover, the notion of epistemic action has recently been discussed in the literature. Elsewhere I have suggested that these two notions can be brought together to yield the notion of joint epistemic action and provided a relational individualist analysis of joint epistemic actions. In this article I extend this analysis and show how this extended analysis applies to different kinds of important epistemic institutional phenomena: voting in (...) a democracy; financial benchmarks, e.g. LIBOR rate) and; profiling using computer databases. Each of these institutional mechanisms is important in its own right. Moreover, each is a species of a more widespread generic social form that I refer to as joint institutional mechanisms which, I suggest, are ubiquitous yet somewhat diverse in character. Accordingly, there is a need to distinguish them from the more basic phenomenon of joint action but also to taxonomise them. The latter is a large task to which this article is a first step. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a theory of the speech act of assertion according to which assertion is a species of joint action. In doing so I rely on a theory of joint action developed in more detail elsewhere. Here we need to distinguish between the genus, joint action, and an important species of joint action, namely, what I call joint epistemic action. In the case of the latter, but not necessarily the former, participating agents have epistemic goals, e.g., the (...) acquisition of knowledge. It is joint epistemic action that assertion is a species of. (shrink)
There is a need to provide an appropriate normative conception of the modern university: a conception which identifies its unifying purposes and values and, thereby, gives direction to institutional role occupants, governments, public policymakers and other would-be institutional designers. Such a conception could admit differences between modern universities; differences, for example, between so-called universities of technology and other universities. Indeed, it is preferable to frame the issue at the level of higher education or university systems rather than at the level (...) of individual universities. According to the teleological normative theory of social institutions, social institutions are organizations or systems of organizations that provide collective goods by means of joint activity; universities are no exception. So what are the fundamental collective good that universities of technology, or the larger systems of which they are a part, ought to be providing and how are they travelling in this regard? This is the question addressed in this paper. (shrink)
_Investigative Ethics: Ethics for Police Detectives and Criminal Investigators_ presents applied philosophical analyses of the ethical issues that arise for police detectives and other investigators in contemporary society. Explores ethical issues relating to investigative independence, rights of victims and suspects, use of informants, entrapment, privacy and surveillance, undercover operations, deception, and suspect interviewing Represents the first monograph providing a detailed consideration of ethical issues in police investigations Features authorship by an applied philosopher specializing in police ethics, and a former UK (...) senior police officer Combined authorship ensures the text is anchored in actual police practice as well as providing high quality ethical analysis. (shrink)
Terrorism, the use of military force in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and the fatal police shootings of unarmed persons have all contributed to renewed interest in the ethics of police and military use of lethal force and its moral justification. In this book, philosopher Seumas Miller analyzes the various moral justifications and moral responsibilities involved in the use of lethal force by police and military combatants, relying on a distinctive normative teleological account of institutional roles. His conception constitutes a novel (...) alternative to prevailing reductive individualist and collectivist accounts. As Miller argues, police and military uses of lethal force are morally justified in part by recourse to fundamental natural moral rights and obligations, especially the right to personal self-defense and the moral obligation to defend the lives of innocent others. Yet the moral justification for police and military use of lethal force is to some extent role-specific. Both police officers and military combatants evidently have an institutionally-based moral duty to put themselves in harm's way to protect others. Under some circumstances, however, police have an institutionally based moral duty to use lethal force to uphold the law; and military combatants have an institutionally based moral duty to use lethal force to win wars. Two key notions in play are joint action and the natural right to self-defense. Miller uses a relational individualist theory of joint actions to construct the notion of multi-layered structures of joint action in order to explicate organizational action. He also provides a novel theory of justifiable killing in self-defense. Over the course of his book, Miller covers a variety of urgent topics, such as police shootings of armed offenders, police shooting of suicide-bombers, targeted killing, autonomous weapons, humanitarian armed intervention, and civilian immunity. (shrink)
In this paper I, firstly (section 1), distinguish between human rights, natural rights and institutional rights and argue that some so-called human rights, such as the right to life, are natural rights and others, such as the right to vote, are institutional rights. Secondly (section 2), I sketch my account of joint rights (developed in more detail elsewhere1) and apply it to two kinds of entities that are importantly different from one another and from individual human beings, namely, business corporations (...) (section 3) and non-human animals (section 4). I do so to test the scope of joint rights in the context of the ascription of joint rights to human beings being uncontroversial (although the analysis of joint rights is far from being a settled matter). I argue that neither corporations nor animals have joint moral rights, since in neither case do they have moral rights, but that they do have, or at least they ought to have, legal rights, and some of these legal rights arguably ought to be joint legal rights. In doing so, I introduce a significant theoretical innovation to the literature on joint rights, namely, that of a layered structure of joint rights. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that torture is morally justified in some extreme emergencies. However, I also argue that notwithstanding the moral permissibility of torture in some extreme emergencies, torture ought not to be legalised or otherwise institutionalised.
Conformity by an agent to a convention to which the agent is a party is rational only if the agent prefers to conform given the other parties conform and believes the others will conform. But this justification is inadequate; what, for example, is the justification for this belief? The required rational justification requires recourse to (a) preferences for general conformity (as opposed to merely conditional preferences for one's own conformity) and (b) procedures. An agent adopts a procedure when he chooses (...) to perform a whole set of future actions, as opposed to a single action. (shrink)
In this paper my concern is with the collective moral responsibility of criminal investigators for the outcomes of their investigations, bearing in mind that it is important to distinguish collective moral responsibility from, and relate it to, individual moral responsibility. In what sense, if any, are police detectives individually and collectively morally responsible for their success in gathering sufficient evidence to identify, arrest, and charge an offender who has committed a serious crime? Alternatively, in what sense are they morally responsible (...) in cases where they identify, arrest, and charge an innocent person? And in what sense, if any, are police detectives individually and collectively morally responsible for the ultimate outcome of the trial, the finding by the courts of someone they have investigated and charged with a serious crime to be guilty or innocent? (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert has long defended the view that, roughly speaking, agents share the intention to perform an action if and only if they jointly commit to performing that action. This view has proven both influential and controversial. While some authors have raised concerns over the joint commitment view of shared intention, including at times offering purported counterexamples to certain aspects of the view, straightforward counterexamples to the view as a whole have yet to appear in the literature. Here we provide (...) such counterexamples to show that joint commitment is neither necessary nor sufficient for shared intention. (shrink)
We have two aims in this paper. The first is negative: to demonstrate the problems in Bernard Gert’s account of common morality, in particular as it applies to professional morality. The second is positive: to suggest a more satisfactory explanation of the moral basis of professional role morality, albeit one that is broadly consistent with Gert’s notion of common morality, but corrects and supplements Gert’s theory. The paper is in three sections. In the first, we sketch the main features of (...) Gert’s account of common morality in general. In the second, we outline Gert’s explanation of the source of professional moral rules and demonstrate its inadequacy. In the third section, we provide an account of our own collectivist needs-based view of the source of the role-moral obligations of many professional roles, including those of health care professionals. (shrink)
At the United Nations climate change conference in 2011, parties decided to launch the “Durban Platform” to work towards a new long-term climate agreement. The decision was notable for the absence of any reference to “equity”, a prominent principle in all previous major climate agreements. Wealthy countries resisted the inclusion of equity on the grounds that the term had become too closely yoked to developing countries’ favored conception of equity. This conception, according to wealthy countries, exempts developing countries from making (...) commitments that are stringent enough for the collective effort needed to avoid dangerous climate change. In circumstances where even mentioning the term equity has become problematic, a critical question is whether scope for a fair agreement is being squeezed out of negotiations. To address this question we set out a conceptual framework for normative theorizing about fairness in international negotiations, accompanied by a set of minimal standards of fairness and plausible feasibility constraints for sharing the global climate change mitigation effort. We argue that a fair and feasible agreement may be reached by (i) reforming the current binary approach to differentiating developed and developing country groups, in tandem with (ii) introducing a more principled approach to differentiating the mitigation commitments of individual countries. These two priorities may provide the basis for a principled bargain between developed and developing countries that safeguards the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change without sacrificing widely acceptable conceptions of equity. (shrink)
The ethical issues that affect police officers of all ranks and locations are explored in this fascinating introduction to the stark and shocking reality of real-life policing situations. Drawing on examples from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Asia, and South Africa, this book examines policing incidents from the everyday to public events that capture widespread media attention. Fully updated with revised case studies, this edition offers discussion and analysis of current ethical issues, including zero-tolerance policing; community-based policing; private (...) policing; police involvement with central, state or local governments; the internationalization of policing; specialist roles such as peacekeeping; and civil rights in relation to terrorism laws. (shrink)
The essays in this book engage the original and controversial claims from Michael Boylan's A Just Society. Each essay discusses Boylan's claims from a particular chapter and offers a critical analysis of these claims. Boylan responds to the essays in his lengthy and philosophically rich reply.
High levels of police corruption have been a persistent historical tendency in police services throughout the world. While the general area of concern in this book is with police corruption and anti-corruption, the focus is on certain key philosophical and ethical issues that arise for police organisations confronting corruption. On the normative account proffered in this book the principal institutional purpose of policing is the protection of legally enshrined moral rights and the principal institutional anti-corruption arrangement is what is referred (...) to as an integrity system. The latter includes oversight bodies with investigative powers and internal affairs departments as well as specific devices such as early warning indicators, professional reporting mechanisms and integrity tests. Key concepts analysed in the book include corruption, noble cause corruption and collective moral responsibility. The key ethical issues analysed include investigative independence, professional reporting, covert operations and integrity tests. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In the standard case of justifiable killing in self‐defence one agent without provocation tries to kill a second agent and the second agent's only way to avoid death is to kill his attacker. It is widely accepted that such killings in self‐defence are morally justifiable, but it has proved difficult to show why this is so. Recently, Montague has put forward an account in terms of forcing a choice between lives, and Teichman has propounded a quasi‐Hobbesian rights‐based account of (...) self‐defence. I argue that neither Montague nor Teichman has succeeded in providing an adequate justification for killing in self‐defence. (shrink)
This significant volume provides an integrated mix of ethico-philosophical analysis combined with practitioner knowledge and experience to examine and address the large number of difficult ethical questions involved in modern-day policing. An invaluable g.
In this paper I consider the general view of terrorism put forward by Jan Narveson in his “Pacificism and Terrorism: Why We Should Condemn Both” and by Alan Rosenbaum in his “On Terrorism and the Just War: Some Philosophical Reflections.” This is the view that terrorism is morally indefensible. Contra Narveson and Rosenbaum, I argue that some forms of terrorism are morally defensible in some circumstances.In the first section of the paper I will discuss the definition of terrorism, including the (...) definitions put forward by Narveson and Rosenbaum. In the second section, I will outline an account of collective moral responsibility as a necessary precursor to identifying potentially morally defensible forms of terrorism. In the third section I outline a morally defensible form of terrorism, namely terrorism in which certain categories of morally culpable non-attackers are targeted. (shrink)
Socializing Metaphysics supplies diverse answers to the basic questions of social metaphysics, from a broad array of voices. It will interest all philosophers and social scientists concerned with mind, action, or the foundations of social theory.