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Ethics, for Spinoza, is knowledge of “the right way of living.” That ethics is central to his philosophical project is unmistakable from the title of his most systematic presentation of his philosophy: Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata). While that work seeks to demonstrate a broad range of metaphysical, theological, epistemological, and psychological doctrines, they are selected for inclusion, at least in large measure, because of the support he takes them to provide for his ultimate ethical conclusions. Many of those conclusions are distinctive and provocative, and many of his reasons for them are innovative and intriguing. This chapter begins by providing an outline of Spinoza’s ethical theory, including is naturalistic foundations; its primary terms of ethical evaluation; the nature and causes of bondage to the passions; the prescriptions of reason; the way to freedom and autonomy; and eternity, intellectual love of God, and blessedness. It then considers four important questions for Spinoza’s ethical theory: the nature and motivational force of ethical judgments; the conditions for ethical responsibility; the role of altruism in ethics; and the value of life and the harmfulness of death.
In the last 30 years we have increasingly, as humans, been individualised and set in competition with each other in the quest for ever increasing productivity. Neoliberalism has exacerbated those very liberal humanist features that feminist poststructuralist theory set out to dismantle with its critique of binary thought and the ascendance of white, male, elite, western consciousness. While transferring the responsibility for individual survival to the individual, away from the social, it weakened our responsibility, our response-ability, to each other and to the earth and our earth others. In this paper I tease my way, through stories, and through new materialist concepts, to a sense of self as emergent, as process rather than (id)entity, as response-able and responsible in the mattering of the world.
International organisations are subjects of international law with international personality. They are constrained by customary international law to respect and protect life. In addition, the European Union is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A range of conduct will violate the right to life and thereby constitute an internationally wrongful act. Examples include the most flagrant instances of arbitrary deprivation of life: deliberate extrajudicial executions and other arbitrary killings by agents of an international organisation that often uses force, such as by NATO in its operations, or by UN Police or a UN peacekeeping operation. This is so whether the killings occur in peacetime or during and in connection with a situation of armed conflict.
This chapter outlines the remaining constitutive elements of the ecological security discourse, noting what means it encourages in responding to the threat climate change poses to ecosystem resilience and developing an account of which actors have responsibility for the preservation or advancement of security in this discourse. On the question of means, the chapter argues that an ecological security discourse encourages a focus on significant mitigation action, while also noting a potential role for adaptation to inevitable effects and even controversial practices associated with geoengineering. It notes in the process what sets of principles should inform how we approach such practices, emphasizing the importance of dialogue, reflexivity and humility in ensuring that practices carried out in the name of ecological security serve to minimize harm to the most vulnerable. The chapter then defines responsibility for addressing ecological security in terms of capacity, noting a potential role for a wide range of actors – from states to intergovernmental organizations, private corporations to individuals – in advancing ecological security in practice.
As long as their actions are lawful, administrators ought to reinforce the democratic values in their systems of representative government. The reason why is that doing so helps to legitimate policy work as a form of representation: policy work is done on behalf of citizens, and recognizing this integrates policy workers and the state, which itself is born from representation. Institutional designers must not advocate structural choices that compromise the legitimating that representation has for policy work, and they can only craft structures capable of producing democracy administered from values that complement those of the representative governments toward which they direct their proposals. One structure thus cannot fit all political jurisdictions because their representative governments make different trade-offs in accountability and process values. But attending to value complementarity helps to facilitate representation, to legitimate the state, to address the fundamental problem of public administration and to nurture democracy administered.
How does representative government function when public administration can reshape democracy? The traditional narrative of public administration balances the accountability of managers, a problem of control, with the need for effective administration, a problem of capability. The discretion modern governments give to administrators allows them to make tradeoffs among democratic values. This book challenges the traditional view with its argument that the democratic values of administration should complement the democratic values of the representative government within which they operate. Control, capability and value reinforcement can render public administration into democracy administered. This book offers a novel framework for empirically and normatively understanding how democratic values have, and should be, reinforced by public administration. Bertelli's theoretical framework provides a guide for managers and reformers alike to chart a path toward democracy administered.
Chapter 7 examines the law governing the coercive or violent appropriation of property in armed conflict. The chapter focuses on the crime of pillage and related regulation of property during armed conflict under International Humanitarian Law and through an analysis of the conventions and jurisprudence at international tribunals, addresses the extent to which these respond to the problems of militarization, predation, and irregular warfare.
Chapter 8 examines the law governing the exploitation of people’s labour by fighting organizations. The chapter focuses on the international crimes of enslavement and forced labour in armed conflict, as well as the recruitment of children, with a focus on how prohibitions and crime definitions apply to the predatory exploitation of labour in the context of irregular warfare.
Given the multiple threats of atrocities in the world at any given time, where should states direct their attention and resources? Despite the rich and extensive literature that has emerged on the responsibility to protect (RtoP), little thought has been given to the question of how states and other international actors should prioritize when faced with multiple situations of ongoing and potential atrocities. As part of the roundtable “The Responsibility to Protect in a Changing World Order: Twenty Years since Its Inception,” in this essay we first demonstrate the importance of questions of prioritization for RtoP. We then delineate some of the issues involved in assessing the issue of prioritization, beginning with what we call the “basic maximization model,” and introducing additional atrocity-specific and response-specific issues that also need to be considered. We also emphasize the importance of considering how the need to address mass atrocities should be weighed against other global responsibilities, such as those concerning global poverty, global health, and climate change. We thereby set an agenda for future discussions.
This introduction to the roundtable “The Responsibility to Protect in a Changing World Order: Twenty Years since Its Inception” argues that the geostrategic configuration that made the responsibility to protect (RtoP) possible has changed beyond recognition in the twenty years since its inception.
This chapter explores a key effect of REDD+, namely that it recasts how the North–South differentiation in the climate regime is understood and how questions of responsibility and capacity for climate mitigation are conceptualised. This has the effect of enabling the countries of the Global North – who bear the greater responsibility for GHG production – to evade necessary action to ameliorate the climate crisis. Simultaneously, an emphasis on the presumed lack of capacity of Global South countries to act on climate disruption has provided a justification or authorisation for greater international intervention in the name of assisting them to act on climate change. This chapter examines debates over the contentious principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacities in the climate regime and explores changes in how the principle is interpreted and enacted over time. It also shows how the adoption of flexibility mechanisms within the regime transformed how differentiation is operationalised in practice. Finally, this chapter shows how the discourse of ‘capacity building’ in the climate regime has facilitated the establishment of regulatory and legal infrastructure to support neoliberal markets, especially through REDD+-readiness programs.
This chapter distinguishes between two approaches to ethics and engineering, namely "ethics and the engineer" and "ethics and the practice of engineering." The former relates to issues such as the responsibility of an individual engineer in general and within organizations, as spelled out in codes of conduct (such as professional engineering codes, company codes, and other important international codes). The ethics-up-front approach is presented in relation to the latter approach, as proactive thinking about ethics in the practice of engineering. Engineers employ and engage in a variety of activities including the assessment and evaluation of risks, costs, and benefits, and the design and development of artifacts and systems, for instance energy systems. At every turn in those activities, values are expressed either explicitly or implicitly, and choices have ethical ramifications, whether recognized or not. The chapter helps engineers to better identify the ethical problems in hand so as to provide tools and frameworks to proactively address these problems.
We are moving at a fast pace towards the era of machines that are in charge of moral decisions, as in the case of self-driving cars. By reviewing the accident with the Uber self-driving car in Arizona in 2018, this chapter discusses the complexities of assigning responsibilities when such an accident occurs as a result of a joint decision between human and machine, begging the question: Can we ascribe any form of responsibility to the car, or does the responsibility lie solely with the car designer or manufacturer? There is a tendency among scientists and engineers to emphasize the imperfection of human beings and argue that computers could be the "moral saints" we humans can never be because they are not prone to human emotions with their explicit and implicit biases. By reviewing examples from loan approval practices, the chapter shows why this is incorrect. The chapter reviews the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI), specifically focusing on the problems of agency and bias. It further discusses meaningful human control in autonomous technologies as a powerful way of looking at human–machine interactions from the perspective of active responsibilities.
It is fitting that the last example we introduced in the book was about the Internet Research Agency’s (IRA) use of social media, analytics, and recommendation systems to wage disinformation campaigns and sow anger and social discord on the ground. At first glance, it seems odd to think of that as primarily an issue of technology. Disinformation campaigns are ancient, after all; the IRA’s tactics are old wine in new boxes. That, however, is the point. What matters most is not particular features of technologies. Rather, it is how a range of technologies affect things of value in overlapping ways. The core thesis of our book is that understanding the moral salience of algorithmic decision systems requires understanding how such systems relate to an important value, viz., persons’ autonomy. Hence, the primary through line of the book is the value itself, and we have organized it to emphasize distinct facets of autonomy and used algorithmic systems as case studies.
When agents insert technological systems into their decision-making processes, they can obscure moral responsibility for the results. This can give rise to a distinct moral wrong, which we call “agency laundering.” At root, agency laundering involves obfuscating one’s moral responsibility by enlisting a technology or process to take some action and letting it forestall others from demanding an account for bad outcomes that result. We argue that the concept of agency laundering helps in understanding important moral problems in a number of recent cases involving automated, or algorithmic, decision-systems. We apply our conception of agency laundering to a series of examples, including Facebook’s automated advertising suggestions, Uber’s driver interfaces, algorithmic evaluation of K-12 teachers, and risk assessment in criminal sentencing. We distinguish agency laundering from several other critiques of information technology, including the so-called “responsibility gap,” “bias laundering,” and masking.
Features of Fichte’s ethical theory point to a radical moral individualism, on the one hand, and a form of social ethics, on the other. I argue that Fichte’s theory of moral evil contains both elements, but that locating the source of moral evil in social factors would amount to a form of social determination that is incompatible with Fichte’s understanding of moral autonomy. Fichte’s explanation of moral evil in terms of a natural force of inertia, when viewed in conjunction with the clear consciousness of duty required by conscience, generates a paradox concerning how an individual could ever be considered responsible for the state of moral evil which he or she is in. In response to this paradox, I argue that Kierkegaard’s account of the concept of anxiety provides some resources for overcoming this difficulty faced by Fichte’s theory of moral evil, though only if an element of social influence is introduced. Even then, however, this theory will be shown to generate certain problems.
At one point or another, most of us have been accused of not trying our hardest, and most of us have leveled similar accusations at others. The disputes that result are often intractable and raise difficult questions about effort, ability, and will. This essay addresses some of these questions by examining six representative cases in which the accusation is leveled. The questions discussed include (1) what trying one's hardest involves, and (2) the conditions under which complaints about lack of effort are true, and (3) how much their truth matters. One conclusion that emerges is that both the relevant form of effort and the impediments to making it can vary greatly, while another is that trying one's hardest is less important than trying as hard as one could reasonably be expected to try.
In developing a new ethic as a foundation for a non-mythological notion of privacy, we need first to put aside the informational ethics of Floridi, as that is founded on the conception of the individual as, ontologically, information. We demonstrate that this is a mythological position. Capurro has seen the errors of that argument in the dehumanisation of the individual. In moving forward, we examine the value of the full range of the standard ethical qualities on which our relationship with technology is said to be best based and thereby how we should manage its intrusions into privacy. These include dignity, liberty, identity, responsibility, democratic principles, equality, human rights and the common good. However, each of these is shown ultimately to be vulnerable to a range of shortcomings. It is argued that only respectful self-responsibility – that is, responsibility to and for oneself which is respectful of others and which relies on existential values – can act as a solid ethical foundation, although these other principles can be claimed to be of secondary value. We conclude the argument here by pointing out how that principle would not fall prey to bourgeois aspirations.
This chapter reads Heaney’s relationship to America through the notions of place and the writer’s identity developed in his prose, as well as his evolving poetics. It shows how a youthful sense of transatlantic competition matures, with his early visits, into a deep ambivalence about the freedoms and opportunities America affords. America leaves only the faintest impress on the poetry of Wintering Out, the volume composed during his year as visiting lecturer at Berkeley, and distance from home weighs heavily. The political climate in San Francisco, however, and the creative responses it aroused, guide Heaney in the poetic forms and mytho-historical thinking that define North, his most coherent response to the Northern Irish Troubles. Heaney’s public remarks on American poetry and society, and his relationship with Robert Lowell in particular, show a gradual coming round to the loose forms, 'talkiness', and buoyant hybridity that he sees as the poetic articulation of the American experience.
Traditionally, the psychological well-being of healthcare workers has been taken for granted — it has even been considered a part of the requirements that were demanded of them. When these professionals have experienced suffering and psychological depletion, they have been held accountable for this suffering, adopting an individualistic and reductionist viewpoint focused only on the professional. This approach has become obsolete due to its proven ineffectiveness, especially from an ethics of responsibility and organization viewpoint.
The psychological well-being of the healthcare worker (and its opposites: suffering, exhaustion, and disenchantment) is advantageous to the professional's commitment to the institution, to their work performance, and to their personal life.
The objective of this paper is to reflect on the psychological suffering of the palliative care professional.
We will reflect on the three levels of responsibility that influence such suffering (micro-meso-macro-ethical; worker-environment-institution).
We will propose a global strategy for the care of psychological well-being supported by scientific evidence and key references.
Significance of results
We conclude with some contributions on what we have learned and still have to learn on this topic.