Porportionalist reasoning in business ethics

  • Patrick Giddy School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: proportionalism, Spaemann, business ethics, social practices, double effect, moral community, Aristotelianism, MacIntyre


Proportionalist reasoning, found in the Aristo­ telian Just War theory, moderates the means taken by reference to the intended (moral) end. However, judging acts by their conformity or otherwise to one normative moral end might, in a liberal society, seem an imposition. Against this objection, I argue, with Spaemann, that values associated with the culture of commerce and its ethical theories are a breakaway from the culture of commitment and virtue that is the only possible framework for ethical reasoning. This commitment is unpacked by MacIntyre through the idea of a social practice and its internal goods. Applied to business, it is work itself, normatively conceived, that is the key internal good. 


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