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Irre11


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Humanitarian and development intervention: ethics and responsibility 
Convenors:
Raymond Apthorpe (Royal Anthropological Institute)
Tadashi Hirai (University of Cambridge)
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Stream:
Irresponsibility and Failure
Sessions:
Tuesday 30 March, 9:00-10:30 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

Right/wrong, and good/bad, as ethical dimensions of responsibility/irresponsibility, and success/failure, in humanitarian and development intervention.

Long Abstract

For practical action argued and taken name of humanity to qualify as responsible such action, it seeks to be both moral (or better ethical, see below) in principle and materially effective in outcome. Thus an evaluation of a track-record of such practical action may ask: was what was done (a) the 'right' or 'wrong' thing to do, and (b) done 'good' ('well' in earlier grammar) or 'bad' ('badly'). Right/wrong ways of reasoning tend to be rule-, and act-, based, and generally viewed as somehow inherently absolute and universal; that is, as simply either black or white and with no other colours considered. By comparison, good/bad reasoning tends to be more merit- (virtue-) and agent-(agency-) based. Each to a degree has its own characteristic indicators, scales, and measures, whether or not by moral is meant a broad idea of ethical which encompasses besides morality also for example legality, culturality, and other 'right' states of human affairs, and whether or not by material is meant a broad idea of effective inclusive of affect as well as effect. But that of course is not all. Where (and how and when and so forth) responsibly ethical and effective practical action thus conceived can meet where in the interests of practical action successfully achieving what it sets out to be and do it is deemed that they should, may depends on which philosophy (e.g. process-based, outcomes-oriented) is to be applied.

Accepted papers:

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