Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Find out more about: Responsibility & Moral Development

Central to progressive politics and the development of inclusive communities is an understanding of the conditions under which people should be held responsible for their behaviour, and how that affects others in society.

This issue is critically examined in two books by Henry Tam:

Responsibility & Personal Interactions: A Philosophical Study of the Criteria for Responsibility Ascriptions, Tam, H. (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990).
Available from Amazon or directly from the Edwin Mellen Press

This book explores the interpersonal basis of the practice of responsibility ascriptions; formulates a clear and precise set of criteria for responsibility ascriptions; and demonstrates how the proposed criteria help to solve the key problems connected with responsibility in moral and legal philosophy.

Sir P.F. Strawson, the Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy (University of Oxford), wrote that he read it “with great interest and pleasure. I find myself fully in agreement with the main thrust of it … I particularly applaud (and share) [Tam’s] conception of the proper task of the philosopher.”

Chapters in the book:
• Personal Attitudes, Personal Interactions, and the Practice of Responsibility Ascriptions
• Is It Irrational to Hold People Responsible for Their Behavior?
• Forced to Behave in Spite of Oneself
• Culpable and Non-Culpable Ignorance
• Mental Abnormality and Responsibility
• Responsibility for Foreseeable Side-Effects & Intentional Omissions
• Determinism & Responsibility

Punishment, Excuses & Moral Development, Tam, H., ed., (Aldershot: Avebury Press, 1996)

This book brings together philosophers, psychiatrists and criminologists to explore how best to deal with irresponsible behaviour in society.

Part 1 Punishment:
Punishment, citizenship and responsibility
Restitution without punishment - is it enough to make criminals pay?
Mental disorder, multiple diagnosis and secure provision

Part 2 Excuses:
Responsibility, mental illness and psychiatric experts
"Not guilty, by reason of genetic determinism"
The limits of criminality - Kant on the plank

Part 3 Moral Development:
Criminals and moral development - towards a cognitive theory of moral change
"Community", communities and the education of citizens
Individual versus social change
Educating responsible citizens.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Everest of Senior Public Service Management

Here’s a perennial dilemma for those who have taken on a managerial role in public service – on the one hand, you can see how effective management can enhance the good public services are meant to deliver to people; on the other hand, you wonder if you want to take on greater management responsibility when the path up the organisational hierarchy is not always the most inviting.

In truth, the ascent is often far from easy, especially if you do not possess the characteristics and dispositions prevalent amongst those who tend to set the agenda from above. What are you going to do? You can either confine yourself to where you are and do what you can within the parameters laid down by others, or you can strengthen your own management capability so there is a better chance that you will be the one leading public service improvement in the years to come.

In partnership with the Civil Service College, I have developed a number of courses for public sector managers who want a more influential role in shaping public policies and services. Have a look at them and see if as part of your organisation’s training and development programme, you can take advantage of any of these courses:

Thriving on Diversity
It is often observed that a glass ceiling hangs over anyone who, because of certain physical characteristics or cultural traits, does not match the profile of the great majority of those at the top of public institutions. Yet the way put forward for getting round that ceiling frequently turns out to be a mere injunction to adopt a similar office persona as the ‘norm’ and behave like the majority. But narrow conformity cannot be a sound basis for inclusion. Instead, we need a genuine alternative that recognises strength in differences – an approach that enables all concerned to thrive on diversity.
Course dates: (22 Jan, 30 April 2015)

Managing Ministerial Expectations
Many courses are concerned with the ideal policy-making process. In reality, the route that goes from a Minister’s request to putting a new policy in place is full of challenges that seldom conform to any theoretical model. To navigate an effective way forward, we need to understand how best to get to know and interact with senior politicians, their advisors and those who work most closely with them.
Course dates: (3 Feb, 5 May 2015)

Succeeding through Collaborative Leadership
Effective leadership is vital in achieving organisational goals. Across the civil service and the public sector generally, it is increasingly essential for leaders to secure objectives through close collaboration with a wide range of internal and external partners, who may make very different and challenging demands. To succeed, we should aim to acquire the skills and approaches for leading top teams and building synergy-maximising partnerships.
Course dates: (3 March, 18 June 2015)

For details, goggle search for: Civil Service College + [name of the course you're interested in]

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Find out more about: ‘Question the Powerful’

Twice a month, Question the Powerful prompts the reader to think about current political challenges, social misconceptions, or a perennial problem connected with widening power inequalities. You can ensure you get the latest posting by following the blog or requesting free notifications by email at the top left hand corner of the QTP page.

In the meantime, you may be interested in some of the popular posts listed below:

The Voter Vanishes
The National Safety Fund explained
A History of the World in 500 words
The Cooperative Gestalt
Who’s Afraid of Political Education?
The Reciprocity Test: Pros & Cons
Oppose the War on Welfare
The Power Hypothesis
Like to Teach the World to Vote?
A Bomb for an Eye
Cooperative Problem-Solving: the key to a reciprocal society
What Next for the WEA?
The Politics of Cultural Inclinations
Left Disorientated?
Memento Tory
In Praise of Mo Tze (墨子)
Some Like it Thick
Axis of Stupidity
Let them eat bullets
The Alpha Male Syndrome
The Crisis of Civic Disengagement
Belief is not enough

For a complete listing of the essays posted on the Question the Powerful blog, see ‘QTP Essays’.