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P H I L O S O P H Y F O R B U S I N E S S ISSN 2043-0736
Issue number 84
23rd June 2018
Edited by Daniel Silvermintz
I. 'Human vs. Robot Decision Making on the Battlefield: War and
Rational Choice Theory' by Todd J. Barry
II. 'Potential Conflicts between Individual and Group Rights in
Accessing Renewable Energy' by Paul Fagan
From the List Manager
III. Normative Business Ethics Workshop Series of the Carol and
Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research
IV. The Ethics of Business, Trade & Global Governance: An
Issue 84 of Philosophy for Business features two articles that
apply economic concepts to an analysis of pressing political issues:
the ethics of military robots and energy access as a universal human
right. Both authors suggest the need for current political leaders
and governmental agencies to work at the intersection of economic
analysis, political theory, and philosophic thought in order to
develop ethical policies to address these looming concerns. As is
evident from both discussions, economic analysis provides a valuable
entry point when directed by a larger social and political system of
Todd Barry from the University of Southern Mississippi applies an
economic model to examine the rationality of war in his provocative
article, 'Human vs. Robot Decision Making on the Battlefield: War and
Rational Choice Theory.' He begins by analyzing casualty statistics
from the conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan in order to
assess the economic rationality of decisions to surge or withdraw
troops by various political leaders. In light of the increasing use
of robots on the battlefield, Barry proceeds to speculate about the
ability of artificial intelligence for rational decision making in
military operations. As Barry notes, human rationality is not merely
a process of calculation (for which computers are clearly superior),
but also involves emotions and values. Anticipating the development
of value based artificial intelligence, Barry concludes by
considering a host of ominous scenarios culminating in a
'technological singularity' that suggest the need for world leaders
to develop policies regarding the use of military artificial
intelligence before it is too late.
Paul Fagan holds a PhD from the University of Hull and is a member
of the Society for Applied Philosophy. in his article, 'Potential
Conflicts between Individual and Group Rights in Accessing Renewable
Energy', he considers the possibility of a universal right to
renewable energy. In light of concerns about the environmental impact
of conventional energy sources, there has been a sustained effort for
more than a decade to establish a universal right to renewable energy
supplies. Anticipating adoption of this as a basic human right, Fagan
considers how nations will arbitrate inevitable disputes between
individual and group claims to contested energy resources. Although
beginning with a very practical question about resource allocation,
Fagan concludes by considering the contentious political issue of
group rights and their relationship to individual rights.
(c) Daniel Silvermintz 2018
About the editor:
I. 'HUMAN VS. ROBOT DECISION MAKING ON THE BATTLEFIELD: WAR AND
RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY' BY TODD J. BARRY
Fifty years after the 1968 Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, old debates
are being revived in the United States regarding the rational
conduction of war and the appropriateness of whether and when to send
or withdraw troops, while new debates are emerging about the U.S.
military's use of artificial intelligence (AI). In this paper, I
present a political-economic model of war using marginal concepts
with regard to the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I then
turn to an examination of the rationality of AI robots and their
ethical use in war [...]
(c) Todd J. Barry
II. 'POTENTIAL CONFLICTS BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP RIGHTS IN
ACCESSING RENEWABLE ENERGY' BY PAUL FAGAN
For more than a decade, there has been a sustained effort by various
international groups to establish access to sufficient energy
supplies as a universal human right. Concerns about the environmental
impact of conventional fuel sources and their depleted supplies have
resulted in an increasing demand for access to renewable sources of
energy such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric. In anticipation of the
adoption of policies recognizing rights to renewable energy, I
consider potential disputes that might arise between individual and
groups in their respective rights to access these energy sources [...]
(c) Paul Fagan 2018
III. NORMATIVE BUSINESS ETHICS WORKSHOP SERIES OF THE CAROL AND
LAWRENCE ZICKLIN CENTER FOR BUSINESS ETHICS RESEARCH
Over the 2018-2019 academic year, the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin
Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School, University
of Pennsylvania, will be convening a regular works-in-progress series
for scholars working in normative business ethics (NBE). In
particular, we are interested in papers pursuing business ethics
issues from a normative perspective, or papers in moral or political
philosophy with implications for the market, distributive justice,
labor relations, the role of business in society, etc.
The series is part of an effort to foster normative business ethics
in the academy and the public sphere. This particular initiative has
two key objectives: First, it endeavors to provide a regular forum
for scholars working on business ethics from a normative perspective.
The community of such scholars is relatively small, and dispersed
across numerous institutions, and there are few opportunities for
these individuals to convene and share work. This series is an effort
to connect these scholars and enrich their shared intellectual life.
Second, the series aims to be especially valuable to junior faculty
and advanced graduate students, by providing them with feedback from,
and opportunities to interact with, more established members of the
normative business ethics community. To that end, we hope to have one
junior author and one senior author at each session.
The workshop will meet roughly once each month over the academic
year. Any academic or practitioner with an interest in normative
business ethics is invited to attend the sessions. Faculty interested
in having their paper discussed at the workshop should submit an
abstract. (Further information about submission can be found under
the "Call for Abstracts" below.) Two or three draft papers will be
selected for each session. Complete draft papers will be circulated
two weeks in advance of each session and participants will be
expected to have read them carefully, and to arrive at the workshop
prepared to offer constructive feedback.
The sessions will be structured so as to maximize the opportunity for
paper improvement through the comments of a community of scholars
committed to normative business ethics. To that end, authors will not
present at the session for which their paper has been assigned.
Instead, those gathered will offer feedback on the paper.
An author whose paper is selected for presentation in a given
semester will bear an obligation to attend the other sessions that
semester or to send feedback via email to the authors whose papers
are presented at any session that she is unable to attend. In this
way, each author will be assured of a good number of responses to his
or her paper.
The Zicklin Center will provide the room and refreshments for each
session. Sessions will be held on Fridays, beginning at 1:00 pm
unless otherwise indicated. Some travel funding is available for
paper authors for the session at which their paper will be discussed.
Attendees will be asked to pay for their own travel expenses.
Call for Abstracts
We invite individuals interested in workshopping a paper in normative
business ethics to submit a paper abstract. The abstract should be a
maximum of 500 words. Please send the abstract to Lauretta Tomasco
(email@example.com) by July 16, 2018. Individuals will be
notified about whether their paper has been selected for presentation
by the beginning of August. We will schedule the dates for the
workshops in consultation with those authors whose papers have been
Please address all questions to Rob Hughes
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Amy Sepinwall
Robert C. Hughes
Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
668 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
IV. THE ETHICS OF BUSINESS, TRADE & GLOBAL GOVERNANCE: AN
Venue: Wentworth by the Sea (Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA)
Date: November 30-December 1, 2018
Proposal Submission Deadline: June 30, 2018
Submission email: email@example.com
The Saint Anselm College Center for Ethics in Business and
Governance, in cooperation with the Department of Finance--University
of Vienna and the University of St. Andrews Centre for Responsible
Banking & Finance, announces a call for proposals for an
interdisciplinary conference on the economics, ethics and governance
of global trade.
International trade policies have featured prominently in recent
elections in the United States and Europe, while specific trade
agreements like NAFTA and TPP are a continued topic of discussion
among policy-makers and in the media. Many of these discussions
highlight the economic benefits and costs of individual trade deals
without examining the diverse ethical, economic, social and political
ramifications of globalization and trade for global actors as well as
for local communities and businesses. What is needed is a more
comprehensive, interdisciplinary discussion of the complexities of
The goal of this conference is to bring together ethicists,
economists, political scientists, international relations scholars,
policy experts, and business leaders to comprehensively examine not
only the political and economic impact of trade but also how trade
can be conducted more ethically.
Suggested topics or questions that a proposal could address include:
- Is free trade a goal countries and corporations should pursue?
- What is the respective role of corporations and governments in
determining trade policy?
- What are the origins and causes of the current international trade
- Are there advantages to bilateral as opposed to multilateral trade
- How will FinTech affect international trade?
- Should individual countries prioritize their own interests in trade?
- Is globalization beneficial or detrimental to communities?
- What are the rights and responsibilities of economic actors
engaging in the global economy?
- Does free trade demand the free movement of peoples?
- Do participants in international trade have a responsibility to
ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits?
- Should there be a shared responsibility to ensure that trading
practices enable sustainable development and the recognition of human
- What are the social and political challenges in governing
international trade and the movement of global capital?
- Who has the authority to make and enforce the rules and laws
involved in the global economy?
- How does trade affect collective bargaining rights?
- What is the relationship between economic development and
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of international
organizations in regulating international economic relations?
Specifics: We will accept proposals for individual presentations,
entire panels (3-5 presentations per panel), or moderated roundtable
discussions. Individual proposals should consist of an abstract of no
more than 350 words. Individual presentations at the conference will
be 15-20 minutes. Proposals for panels should include a proposed
title and brief explanation (50-100 words) of the panel along with
abstracts for each presentation. Roundtables should include a title,
a list of participants, and an explanation (up to 350 words) of the
questions and issues the roundtable will address. All proposals may
be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any
questions about the conference, please contact Kyle Hubbard
Undergraduate Panel: We encourage proposals from undergraduate
students. At least one panel will be reserved for undergraduate
Publication: Presenters at the conference will have the option of
submitting their papers to Business Research (Springer) for a special
issue devoted to International Business Ethics & Trade. Submitted
papers will be subject to a double-blind, peer reviewed process.
Guidelines for submitting papers for possible publication will be
provided at the conference.
Deadlines: Proposals for individual presentations, panels, and
roundtable discussions are due June 30, 2018. All individual
presenters and panel presenters will be required to submit completed
papers by November 16, 2018 (two weeks prior to the conference date).
Moderated roundtable discussion participants do not need to submit a
More Information: The conference is hosted by the Saint Anselm
College Center for Ethics in Business and Governance and supported by
our partners at the University of Vienna and the St. Andrews Centre
for Responsible Banking & Finance. For more information on the
conference, please see the Saint Anselm College Center for Ethics in
Business and Governance website:
Registration Fee: $150 USD (Includes Saturday breakfast and luncheon)