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symposium on kerrey and the thanh phong incident
1. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Joseph Betz Kerrey and Calley: Is There Really a Moral Difference?
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Lieutenant Bob Kerrey, later Governor and Senator Kerrey, revealed in the spring of 2001 that he was being accused by a former military subordinate that he had ordered a massacre during the Vietnamese War. Kerrey denied most parts of the charge. If guilty, however, he would be a war criminal of roughly the same kind that a court martial found Lieutenant Rusty Calley to be. I examine the available evidence and argue that a court martial would probably find Kerrey guilty and I compare him in many ways to Calley.
2. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jan Narveson Kerrey and Calley: What Is the Moral Difference?
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In the Vietnam war, Lieutenant Calley, claiming to be following orders, ordered the killing of several hundred women, children, and elderly people in the village of My Lai. In 1969, Lieutenant (later Senator) Kerrey led a small group of SEALs in the dead of night on a dangerous military venture. In course, a dozen or so innocent villagers were either shot in crossfire or killed intentionally because there seemed a real chance that they would inform the enemy, endangering themselves and the mission. I argue that Calley was clearly not justified and that Kerrey, given the circumstances, may have been. More generally, I argue that all soldiers at all ranks must be expected to act decently, with as much regard to the distinction of civilian/combatant as circumstances permit. That one is following superiors’ orders is never sufficient, of itself, to justify what would otherwise be grossly evil acts.
3. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Tom Grassey When He Was a Young Man
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This article examines the events in Thanh Phong, Vietnam, on the night of 25.26 February 1969, when Lieutenant (junior grade) Bob Kerrey led a squad of U.S. Navy SEa-Air-Land (SEAL)s on a mission to capture a Viet Cong district chief. It studies the events at an outlying hooch the SEALs encountered as they approached the village, and what happened in Thanh Phong, examining several sources, most notably Gregory Vistica’s New York Times Magazine article and Kerrey.s recent memoir, When I Was a Young Man. The article explains the differing accounts at the hooch and in the village, and considers whether military necessity, fear for their own lives, or obedience to superior orders can justify what these accounts offer. It concludes that neither Gerhard Klann.s nor the combined conflicting versions offered as his “best memory” by Kerrey gives sufficient reason to justify the deaths of about two dozen Vietnamese civilians.
4. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Reginald Raymer Sounds of Silence
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In this article, I suggest that exclusive attention to questions of individual moral responsibility for the killing of Vietnamese civilians in raids on My Lai and Thanh Phong (March 16, 1968, and February 24.25, 1969, respectively), while important, may serve only to silence equally important ethical questions like: Are these cases genocide and mass murder? What does the response or lack thereof of the American government and public to these events tell us about our quest for justice? If we cannot ascertain a reliable account of the facts, does this relegate such actions to meaninglessness? What role does memory play in our representation of horror as well as our memorializing the past? Do we have to be both victims and executioners or can we, in Albert Camus.s words, become “neither victims nor executioners”? My point is that the relevance of this issue is less about returning to the past and assigning guilt and moral culpability and more about the pragmatic-ethical concern of addressing the conditions that make such actions possible.
symposium on war, pacifism, and dialogue
5. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Daniel A. Dombrowski Rawls and War
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The purpose of the present article is to explicate John Rawls’s views on war as they are scattered across several of his writings. Three claims are made: (1) Rawls is generally a just war theorist who usually argues against the “realist” view of war; (2) Under the influence of Michael Walzer, however, Rawls ends up making an illadvised concession to the realist view concerning conditions of “supreme emergency”; and (3), despite Rawls’s blend of just war theory/realism, the logic of his theory of justice and his political liberalism should push him in the opposite direction toward a blend of just war theory/pacifism.
6. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Ali Paya “Dialogue” In a “Real World”: Quixotic Pursuit or sine qua non?
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Can dialogue make real impact on the state of affairs in the real world, or is it a pastime of the polite societies or a lullaby useful for sending gullible grown-ups into “sleep”? In the present paper, following a two-tier analysis of the notion of dialogue, as “shared exploration towards greater understanding, connection, or possibility,” and as a product of our “collective intentionality,” I shall develop a bifurcated argument. Against the cynic pundits, who preach that realpolitik and not dialogue is the name of the game in our daily interactions with each other, I shall argue that in an increasingly pluralistic world, dialogue is a powerful and indispensable means for making desirable changes. Similarly, against the over-enthusiastic optimists who believe that dialogue provides us with a magical wand, I shall argue that dialogue is as good as we can make it: dialogue cannot work miracles in a vacuum of collective will. The upshot of my argument is that firstly, dialogue is an indicator of the rationality and maturity of the social actors: the more rational the social actors the more ubiquitous and effective the dialogue and vice versa. And secondly, although, dialogue itself may lead to frustration or even violence, it is the absence of dialogue that poses the greatest danger for the future of mankind.
7. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Messay Kebede Generational Imbalance and Disruptive Change
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According to most scholars, what defines modernity is the prevalence of change and mobility in all aspects of life, as opposed to traditionality in which immobility of beliefs and statuses is said to be the dominant trait. One major implication of this definition is the conclusion that the occurrence of modernity involves generational conflicts on the grounds that older people are less open to innovation and change. This paradigm of modernity has led to the exclusion of elders from political life in Third World countries, especially in those countries that opted for a revolutionary course. In light of traditional views of old age and recent gerontological findings, this paper examines the validity of the assumption according to which younger leadership is best equipped to achieve modernity in developing countries. It finds out that both factual and theoretical considerations underline that integration as much as deviation defines positive change and that the failure of generational interaction results in detrimental outcomes.
8. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Peter Johnstone, Joe Frank Jones, III Noble Cause Police Corruption: Suggestions for Training
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This essay confronts police corruption historically and conceptually, isolating noble cause corruption as a neglected yet powerful motivator of corrupt police behavior. Noble cause corruption is defined in some detail and several specific suggestions are made regarding police training programs to address the issue.
9. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Yotam Lurie The Ontology of Sports Injuries: Professional Ethics of Sports Medicine
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Disclosing the ontology of sports injuries by looking closer at their meaning provides us with insight into the professional ethics of the sports medicine specialist. The aim of this article is twofold: to disclose the “the ontology of sports injuries,” and to use the disclosure as an insightful perspective for dwelling on the ethics of sports medicine. Because of the unique nature of sports, the standard ethical prescriptions usually associated with medical ethics are of little use for the sports medicine specialist in treating sport injuries. In spelling out the special ethical context of sports medicine, this paper suggests several distinctions. I propose several models, which provide different conceptions of what constitutes a sport injury: (1) The Medical Model; (2) The Normative Model; (3) The Liberal Model; (4) The Phenomenological Model. The implications of each of these models for sports medicine is assessed, and through them the concept of a sports injury is clarified in a way that can assist us in inferring what is to be done from an ethical point of view.
book review
10. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Mike W. Martin Provoking Thoughts on Professionalism
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In this book, Michael Davis, one of the most insightful writers on professional ethics, substantially revises and integrates fifteen of his previously published articles, making them available to a wider audience. Several professions are emphasized: law, engineering, and police work (including international law enforcement). Yet the topics discussed have relevance to all areas of professional ethics: defining professions, the moral authority of professional codes, intelligently interpreting codes, professional autonomy and discretion, dirty hands, and goals in teaching professional ethics.
symposium on business ethics
11. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Lisa H. Newton A Passport for Doing Good: A Framework for Business Ethics in an International Context
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Does “business ethics,” as we have developed it in the United States, apply without change when business goes abroad? We argue that we cannot assume, in foreign nations (especially in the developing world), that the assumptions of U.S. business practice and business ethics hold without modification. An attempt to find a universally applicable ethic for global business results in the tentative formulation of “ten commandments” to guide the practice of business in the nations of the world.
12. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
John Forge Corporate Responsibility Revisited
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The fact that corporate responsibility supervenes on human action implies that there are two possible kinds of account of the former, namely reductive accounts in which the responsibility of the corporation devolves down without remainder to its officers, and those in which it does not. Two versions of the latter are discussed here. The first, due to Peter French, tries to satisfy the supervenience requirement by defining corporate action in terms of human action. It is argued that the corresponding view of intention, intentions as plans, does not serve to show how the defined notion of corporate action also brings with it attributions of responsibility. An alternative account, taking its point of departure from Feinberg’s ideas of vicarious and collective responsibility, is therefore proposed. It is argued that when officers of a corporation substitute the “decision-making mechanism” of the corporation for their own, then responsibility, but not action, can transfer to the corporation. Furthermore, it is argued that this nonreductivist account can be defended against the reductivist charge that attributions of moral responsibility to corporations is a category mistake.
13. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Alan S. Rosenbaum Some Philosophical and Legal Reflections on Remembering the Holocaust
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In my paper I propose to explore a defensible philosophical basis for affirming the significant uniqueness of the Holocaust in relation to other similar instances of genocide and, accordingly, to contribute to efforts to better secure its place in history for future generations, especially in terms of its impact on aspects of institutionalized remembrance in law and morality. The twentieth century has been a century of democide (a state’s killing of its own people) and genocide (a state’s murder of its own minorities in the general population): it ought to be or to promote a century of indelible remembrance. Perhaps the twenty-first century will be one not only of further institutionalized forms of remembrance to dissuade future genocidists, but also of the actualization of more effective internal mechanisms for preventing genocidal policies and practices. Short of prevention, however, mechanisms ought to be in place for either intervening in or stopping genocidal atrocities once they begin, and of apprehending, prosecuting, and punishing the perpetrators. Certainly the conceptual framework exists in international law and in popular moral discourse for identifying genocidal possibilities or attempts at genocide. Only a persistent global will needs to be present to make these mechanisms a reality.
14. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
E. R. Klein Whither Academic Freedom?
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Academic freedom has become the enemy of the individual professors working in colleges and universities across the United States. Despite its historical (and maybe even essential) roots in the First Amendment, contemporary case law has consistently shown that professors, unlike most members of society, have no rights to free speech on their respective campuses. (Ironically, this is especially true on our State campuses.) Outlined is the dramatic change in the history of the courts from recognizing “academic freedom” as a construct needed to protect professors from the status quo, to the abuse of “academic freedom” appropriated to protect the institution from “undesirable” professorial actions such as politically incorrect speech or research. Klein warns all those in the academy to become familiar with this pernicious 180-degree turn in the use of the “academic freedom” construct.
15. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
David Gilboa Premarital Sex and Exploitation in a Liberal Society
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Unimpressed by the exhortations of previous generations, our modern society accepts premarital sex. Advisably? In an attempt to answer this question, I shall make three related points, drawing on findings from evolutionary psychology and bargaining theory. First, premarital sex is potentially exploitative. Second, to allow premarital sex is not merely to extend a certain freedom, but indirectly to compel women to practice premarital sex, hence effectively to foster their exploitation. Third, some of the measures taken to combat the sexual exploitation of single women can make matters worse, as the implementation of these measures tends to increase rather than decrease the level of the exploitation.
16. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Brian J. Huschle Cyber Disobedience: When is Hacktivism Civil Disobedience?
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In this paper I focus on the role that cyberspace should play in social or political protest, and, in particular, in acts of civil disobedience. I have two main purposes in doing so. First, I want to address the question, “When is hacktivism civil disobedience?” I answer the question by including a more complete and explicit analysis of civil disobedience, as it is affected by information technology, than is currently done in the literature on hacktivism. This allows a clearer answer to the question posed here than currently provided in the relevant literature. Second, I analyze James Moor’s claim that information technology transforms old processes, as this claim applies to the context of civil disobedience. As we will see, while information technology may exacerbate certain issues, little transformation seems required in this case.
17. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Jason Borenstein Authenticating Expertise: Philosophical and Legal Issues
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Our courts are regularly confronted with the claims of expert witnesses. Since experts are permitted to present testimony in the courtroom, we have to assume that judges and juries understand what it means to have expertise and can consistently recognize someone who has it. Yet these assumptions need to be examined, for the legal system probably underestimates the difficulty of identifying expertise. In this paper, several philosophical issues pertaining to expertise will be discussed, including what expertise is, why we rely on experts, what measures can be taken to verify expertise, and how we determine whether a particular individual is an expert.
18. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Judith Chelius Stark The Arrest in Kafka and Solzhenitsyn
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The twentieth century was unprecedented in the scope and enormity of the terrible deeds that human beings perpetrated against their fellows. Oftentimes, the unjust detention, imprisonment, tortures, and executions were set in motion by the event of the arrest. This paper examines the phenomenon of the arrest as it is depicted in two of the century’s literary giants -- Franz Kafka and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Uncanny correspondences can be detected particularly between Kafka’s novel The Trial and Solzhenitsyn’s memoir The Gulag Archipelago. Moreover, through Kafka’s powerful literary imagination, he created works containing many features that were later to stand at the heart of the terror of totalitarian regimes. This paper analyzes and explores the arrest and, as a result, a philosophical typology of the arrest emerges. Due to the power and scope of Kafka’s genius, his work both prefigures and expresses many of the essential characteristics of totalitarian regimes that come to be enacted in flesh and blood later in the century. In The Trial, the arrest may be seen as an eerie and surreal foreshadowing of the millions of morally outrageous and legally spurious arrests that were to come in the twentieth century.
19. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
John Mizzoni Against Rolston’s Defense of Eating Animals: Reckoning with the Nutritional Factor in the Argument for Vegetarianism
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In his critique of a common argument in favor of vegetarianism, Holmes Rolston III does not sufficiently address the nutritional factor. The nutritional factor is the important fact that the eating of animals is not nutritionally required to sustain human life. Also, although Rolston’s criterion for distinguishing when to model human conduct on animal conduct is defensible, he applies it inconsistently. One reason for this inconsistency is that Rolston misplaces the line he attempts to draw between culture and nature. Although he himself makes a distinction between culture and nature Rolston fails to recognize that the nutritional “need” to eat meat is a cultural creation, not a natural event. For these reasons, Rolston’s defense of eating animals as a purported way of respected ecology is severely impaired.