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21. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Patricia C. Flynn Ethics in the Board Room: Contracts or Fiduciary Relationships?
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Most contemporary discussions of institutional ethics take contractual rather than fiduciary relations as the model for describing moralresponsibilities, leaving institutional boards with few resources to support and critique their moral behavior. I argue that institutional fiduciary relationships cannot be characterized as contracts, either in fact or function. Each form of relationship privileges a different set of behaviors and values that are far from interchangeable.
22. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Johann A. Klaassen, George R. Gay Fiduciary Duty and Socially Responsible Investing
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Most discussions of fiduciary duty focus on medical decision-making, but that is not the only context in which the concept is important. Investment advisers have fiduciary duties to their clients: in this essay, we address those duties. Many advisers refuse to help their clients with ‘socially responsible’ investment plans, for a variety of reasons, among which are fiduciary concerns. We argue that the reasons generally given not to pursue a religious, environmental, or social investment strategy are mistaken, and, most importantly, that an investment adviser’s fiduciary duties may be met while providing such alternatives to clients.
23. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Samuel V. Bruton Duties of Gratitude
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This paper is a response to a recent article by Christopher Wellman in which Wellman argues that gratitude is better understood as a virtue rather than a source of moral obligations. First, I offer several examples intended to dispute his claim that gratitude does not impose duties. Second, I provide my own reasons for thinking that deontic notions alone cannot capture the moral significance of gratitude. Wellman’s mistake is attributable to an overly narrow conception of duty that his argument presupposes. Finally, I consider the implications of my analysis for fiduciary ethics generally given the indeterminacy of the principle of gratitude.
24. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Martin G. Leever Conflicts of Interest in the Privatization of Child Welfare
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Due to the enormous disparity of power in the child welfare professional-client relationship, a high level of trust is necessary for this relationship to achieve its intended benefits, including protecting, caring for, terminating parental rights to, and finding appropriate adoptive homes for, abused and neglected children. This paper first defines conflicts of interest as necessarily including the exercise of judgment, and then argues that contractual relationships between private child welfare agencies and public departments of child welfare often betray their fiduciary responsibilities through conflicts of interest inherent in these contracts, particularly as regarding incentives for and against finding permanent homes for abused and neglected children. Finally, I propose an evidence-based strategy to ameliorate conflicts of interest when making permanent placement decisions for foster children.
25. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Sarah-Vaughan Brakman Open Adoption and the Ethics of Disclosure to Children
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A sustained analysis of the moral permissibility of withholding or of the obligation to disclose information to an adopted child is lacking in the literature on parental duties, disclosures, and adoption. These two sets of questions raise issues that appear to fall within the parameters of the concepts of stewardship and gratitude. I propose that adoptive parents are the stewards of the information they receive concerning their child and I show how stewardship and gratitude can aid adoptive parents as they negotiate the terrain of disclosure.
26. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Dennis E. Skocz Fiduciary Paradox and Psychotherapy
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In the psychotherapist-patient relationship, the therapist-fiduciary must deal with ambiguity, assume risks, and make decisions without final appeal to psychiatric theory. Ambiguity regarding patient autonomy poses treatment paradoxes. Caregiving that aims at autonomy can end up undermining it. Additionally, pursuit of autonomy can put the patient’s well-being at risk.
27. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Alfred I. Tauber Autonomy Gone Mad
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Medicine’s fundamental moral philosophy is the responsibility of caring for the ill, yet beneficence is not under the province of the law.Indeed, fiduciary responsibilities of doctors are limited. Instead, American law is preoccupied with protecting patient rights under the precept of patient autonomy, and contemporary medical ethics is dominated by these concerns. The extrapolation of autonomy rights from the political and judicial culture to medicine is, under ordinary circumstance, non-problematic. However, in instances of conflict, the dominance of autonomy reveals a hierarchy of values determining patient care. To illustrate the moral calculus of balancing competing principles, the ethical issues of involuntary treatment of psychotic patients are considered, and alternatives to the moral reasoning currently guiding the care of these individuals are offered to better solve the dilemma of respecting patient autonomy while still fulfilling the claims of physician responsibility.
28. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Katharine Kolcaba, Raymond J. Kolcaba Fiduciary Decision-Making Using Comfort Care
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Ethical fiduciaries in health care lack sufficient criteria for making ethical decisions. The authors introduce criteria from The Theory of Comfort as developed in the nursing literature. According to the theory, comfort is based in observation, measurable, and represents a nearly universal human need and interest. Use of the theory is illustrated through three case studies.
29. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Wayne Vaught Trust, Covert Surveillance and Fiduciary Obligations
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Health professionals, by agreeing to provide care, accept a fiduciary role that entails an obligation to preserve trust. We trust health professionals to be competent, to promote patient interests, and to properly utilize their discretionary power. While some health professionals argue that such activities as secretly screening for drugs or sexually transmitted diseases are necessary to fulfill their fiduciary obligations, these may actually constitute a breach of trust. In this paper, I argue that, in the specific case of Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, covert surveillance is ethically justifiable and does not constitute a breach of trust and an abuse of the fiduciary relationship.
30. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Sara Waller Philosophical Counseling: An Almost Alternative Paradigm
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I offer a method for philosophical counseling that is contrasted with Marinoffs. This version of philosophical counseling is primarily epistemic and suggests therapy as the examination of the justification of a client's beliefs, with a goal of enabling the client to change belief systems if the client so chooses.
31. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Andrew Fiala Toleration and the Limits of the Moral Imagination
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This essay discusses one source of toleration: a modest recognition of the limits of our ability to imagine the situation of the other. It further connects this with both respect for the autonomy of the other and the moral need to engage the other in dialogue. The conclusion is that toleration is important in light of the ubiquity of failures of the moral imagination. It considers several examples of the failure of the moral imagination, including a discussion of the Hindu practice of sati or widow burning.
32. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Jeremiah Conway Gadamer on Experience and Questioning
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The suspicion of this article is that we don't really understand why questions matter. It addresses this topic by examining the connection Hans-Georg Gadamer draws in Truth and Method between questioning and the possibility of experience. It outlines what Gadamer means by "experience " and shows why he is convinced that we cannot have experiences without asking questions.
33. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
J. Robert Loftis Three Problems for the Aesthetic Foundations of Environmental Ethics
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This essay takes a critical look at aesthetics as the basis for nature preservation, presenting three reasons why we should not rely on aesthetic foundations to justify the environmentalist program. First, a comparison to other kinds of aesthetic value shows that the aesthetic value of nature can provide weak reasons foraction atbest. Second, not everything environmentalists want to protect has positive aesthetic qualities. Attempts have been made to get around this problem by developing a reformist attitude towards natural aesthetics. I argue that these approaches fail. Third, development can be as aesthetically positive as nature. If it is simply beauty we are looking for, why can't the beauty of a wellconstructed dam or a magnificent skyscraper suffice?
34. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Sylvanus Ifeanyi Nnoruka Judgement in African Thought
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Critical thinking plays a role in African judgement. Here, factors that influence judgement are: culture, communalism, wisdom of elders, revelation from the gods, and observation. Factors that obstruct judgement include: colonialism, modernization, and new religions. However, thanks to Kant's critical philosophy, only objectively valid knowledge is actually knowledge in African traditional thought.
35. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Ronald Sandler Culture and the Specification of Environmental Virtue
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One concern about a virtue ethics approach to environmental ethics is that virtue ethics lack the theoretical resources to provide a specification of environmental virtue that does not pander to obtaining cultural practices and conceptions of the human-nature relationship. In this paper I argue that this concern is unfounded.
36. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
David DeMoss Connectionist Agency
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Any mind-brain theory eventually will have to deal with agency. I do not claim that no other theory could do this successfully. I do claim that connectionism is able to handle some key features of agency. First, I will offer a brief account of connectionism and the advantages of using it to account for human agency, comparing and contrasting connectionism with two other mind-brain accounts in cognitive science, symbolicism and dynamicism. Then, since a connectionist account of agency depends on a unique approach to inner representations, I discuss the connectionist account of representation and the implications this has for our appeal to reasons in explanations of human action. I conclude that, given a connectionist brain account, reasons cannot be causes.
37. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Steven Schroeder Notes Toward a Philosophy of Nonviolence: A City In Which Violence Is Not Necessary
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This paper takes Gandhi's satyagraha, which he defined as "holding on to truth" (associating it simultaneously with knowing and doing) as a basis for a political philosophy of nonviolence that draws on voices familiar from twentieth century nonviolent struggles as well as sociobiology, literary criticism, and feminist approaches to sacrifice.
38. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Kory Spencer Sorrell Authority, Epistemic Privileging, and Democratic Deliberation
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This essay focuses on the role relationships of authority play in the communal production of knowledge. The author draws on recent developments in feminist epistemology and the pragmatism of John Dewey to show that not only is authority representation ineluctable, but is desirable if held properly accountable.
39. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Alfred I. Tauber The Philosopher as Prophet: The Case of Emerson and Thoreau
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Emerson articulated his metaphysics of selfhood within a theistic framework; Thoreau reconfigured his ideas as a mystical pantheism. In this latter form, Transcendentalism offered twentieth century Americans a new religious sensibility based on an intimacy with nature, which became a spiritual and aesthetic resource for personal fulfillment.
40. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Cynthia Townley Trust and the Curse of Cassandra (An Exploration of the Value of Trust)
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Epistemological interest in trust concentrates mainly on whether and how it is a proper resource for responsible knowers. However, trust is important and valuable to epistemic agents for reasons that do not depend on its being knowledge-conducive, or knowledge enhancing. Being trusted is essential for full participation in an epistemic community. The story of Cassandra illustrates these dimensions of trust's value.