Professor Wayne Eastman
Professor Eastman has published articles in business ethics, management, and law journals. His academic research program focuses on business ethics, with emphases on how moral emotions help people solve social games, solution concepts for two-person games, ideology, and value diversity. Currently, he is working with others to develop a new subfield, critical business ethics, which emphasizes the need for a self-critical, reflexive approach to research and practice in areas such as human trafficking, the coffee supply chain, financialization, and the link between background and ideology. In his teaching, Professor Eastman focuses on both business law, in which he emphasizes skills in making effective arguments, and business ethics, in which he also emphasizes skills in harmonizing as a leader with different people and groups.
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About the topic:
Reasoning about human problems is a good thing. But does it have a tendency to make us pessimistic? Yes—if we assume that the problem we are trying to make better results from selfishness, as in the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD), or from other less than admirable motives, such as the prejudice against certain groups highlighted in the famous Implicit Association Test (IAT).
Can we reason about human problems in an optimistic spirit? Yes, we can. The key to doing so is to realize that human problems may not result from anti-social or amoral motives. Instead, many problems may arise fundamentally, or in large part, from our pro-social, moral motives, such as our desires to help another person or the group.
There is major value in the PD and the IAT, and in other approaches that take a skeptical, jaundiced approach toward human motivation. But there is also major value in the much lesser-known “Altruist’s Dilemma” (AD) and “Moral Clarity Test” (MCT), which help us understand and focus on the problems arising from our desires to do the right thing for others, our organizations, and society. In this presentation, I will introduce and explain the AD and the MCT, and use them as a springboard for discussing examples of how we can reason optimistically about our problems at work and in society.