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.
Seumas Miller is Foundation Director of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics and Professor of Philosophy at Charles Sturt University and the Australian National University. He is the author of a number of books, including Social Action: A Teleological Account, Corruption and Anti-Corruption (with P. Roberts and E. Spence), Ethical Issues in Policing (with J. Blackler), and Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: Ethics and Liberal Democracy.
Introduction to 'the moral foundations of social institutions'; Part I. Theory: 1. A teleological account of institutions; 2. The moral foundations of institutions; 3. Individual autonomy: agency and structure; 4. Collective moral responsibility; 5. Institutional corruption; Part II. Applications: 6. The professions; 7. Welfare institutions; 8. The university; 9. The police; 10. The business corporation; 11. Institutions and information and communication technology; 12. Government.