(NEW) André Almeida (Brazil)


André Almeida (Brazil) - Philosophy PhD, Professor of Philosophy, Fundação Dom Cabral, Associate Tutor in Philosophy, at University of Sussex, England (2013-2018).

Philosophical Practice as a Way of Dealing with Internal Ethical Conflicts in Business Contexts (Lecture) 

Presentation Language: English

Internal ethical conflicts are common in the professional life of many executives in business settings. They may emerge from specific, unanticipated, events or may be inherent to the very professional activity of the executive. During my presentation I will: describe the kinds of situations that generate internal ethical conflicts in business settings; explain the kinds of problems (both for the individual and for the company) which emerge if those are not properly addressed; justify why Philosophy in general and Philosophical Practice specifically is the most appropriate means for addressing those conflicts; and present a model for using Philosophical Practice as an effective tool for dealing with those internal conflicts. Executives are constantly faced with hard choices. Sometimes those choices oppose the economic performance of the company and an ethical outcome. Sometimes they involve straightforward ethical dilemmas. Examples of specific events: having to dismiss a considerable number of employees; closing a factory; working in a company that is involved in corruption scandals; and focusing on the professional life to the detriment of one's family. Examples of internal conflicts that are inherent to the professional activity: working in industries such as alcohol or tabaco; and working in the sustainability division of a mining company. The model I will propose for dealing with these internal conflicts involve group Philosophical Practice sessions intercalated with occasional individual sessions. The aim of the work is not only to elaborate the internal conflicts, but also to use them as "fuel" for the healthy development of the individual. 

A Model for Using Philosophical Practice as a way of Supporting Business Executives During Crisis (Lecture)

In this lecture I will propose a model for the use of philosophical practice as a way of supporting business executives during crises. I will start the lecture by characterizing the problem: in general executives are constantly faced with hard choices. Sometimes those choices oppose the economic performance of the company and an ethical outcome. Sometimes they involve straightforward ethical dilemmas. Examples of specific events: dismissing a considerable number of employees; closing a factory; and focusing on the professional life to the detriment of one's family. During periods of crises the degree of difficulty of many of the choices that executives need to make intensifies. I will explain why philosophy (and philosophical practice in particular) is an appropriate "tool" to offer support to executives in those moments. I will claim that key abilities which are useful to executives in those situations are being able to make ethical choices, to think critically under pressure, and to elaborate the internal ethical conflicts that some of the hard choices generate. I will then explain the model which I propose as a tool to support groups of executives during crises. In order to illustrate how the model works I will share insights from its actual application with a group of executives in a specific crisis. I will finish the lecture by making a point about the application of the model in specific contexts and the ethical responsibility of the philosophical practitioner. 

Creating an International Network for the Sharing of Experiences and Cooperation on Philosophical Practice (Workshop)

The aim of this workshop will be to develop the basis of an international network of philosophical practitioners. The main objective of the network will be to share experiences and support one another (additional objectives can be proposed during the workshop). Working on the "how" is precisely the point of having this workshop. In terms of its structure the workshop will start with me presenting the basic idea and proposed objective of the network. I will then facilitate a discussion among participants, covering the essential aspects of what such a network would look like. I will start each 'topic' by sharing my thoughts as a basis to start the discussion (it is more productive if we start from something concrete rather than having a totally open discussion). I will nonetheless make it clear that participants have complete freedom to present and discuss their own suggestions on each respective topic. The network aspects to be covered during the workshop will be 'suggestions on the scope of the cooperation and possible activities', 'structure and dynamics of the network', 'additional ideas to be incorporated and further points of clarification' (giving room for participants to propose issues that I haven't anticipated), and 'practical steps towards the implementation of the network (which includes a discussion and a formal membership enrolment process)'. 

Philosophical Practice and the Decision-Making of Business Executives (Lecture)

A key capacity for a business executive is decision-making. At the same time that making decisions is among the most present tasks in the daily professional life of executives, the decisions they make have many times considerable impact. Such capacity becomes increasingly important as one climbs up the ladder of the hierarchy of a business. The greater the decision-making power of an executive the greater the impact their decisions will tend to have. Though that is an essential capacity in the professional context of executives, developing their capacity to make better decisions in general plays no role (surprisingly) in the formal process of improving themselves as an executive. In this paper I offer the view that Philosophical Practice is well positioned to give a great contribution in terms of this issue. Philosophical Practice aims at providing a practical contribution to people's lives. In as much as executives are people there is naturally a contribution to be given to such a public from a personal point of view. The sort of contribution proposed in this paper certainly includes this kind of personal added value, and yet it also transcends it. That is so because of the indirect contribution given to society as a whole. It would be difficult to overstate the degree of impact which corporations have in the world habituated by us. For instance, out of the 100 largest economies in the world, 71 are corporations. As the paper will among other things argue for the view that one important sense in which the decision-making capacity of executives can be improved is by properly acknowledging the morally relevant features of situations (as opposed to tending to ignore certain kinds of relevant features) there is a clear sense in which such improvement would lead to the betterment of society as a whole. In the paper I argue for the view that Philosophy is well positioned to give such a relevant contribution. Extremely useful principles in terms of a higher quality decision-making process can be derived from traditional philosophical fields of study such as logic, critical thinking and ethics. I also argue for the view that Philosophical Practice is particularly well positioned to supporting executives in developing such capacity. What is required is not a merely theoretical understanding of concepts but rather a concrete development of a capacity. In as much that is the case Philosophical Practice is a kind of approach which would allow the Practitioner to derive a conceptual basis form the above-mentioned theoretical areas of Philosophy while, at the same time, providing applicable instruments and approaches that could be conducive to the practical development of the client's decision-making capacity. The paper is finished by a description of how a Philosophical Practitioner can in practice promote the development of the relevant capacity.