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An Unmanageable Rationale: How Business Ethics Textbooks Unwittingly Recommend a Virtue-Ethics Account of Moral Reasoning

Justin M. Anderson


Even among the most popular, normative business ethics textbooks today, there prevails a significant presupposition regarding moral reasoning. They argue that in light of competing theories of moral reasoning the business managers ought to perceive what the situation at hand demands and choose their principles of moral reasoning accordingly. The presupposition is that this perceiving what the situation demands does not already indicate a form of moral reasoning. In this article, I make the contrary argument: Moral perception, especially of the kind that is so often suggested by the contemporary normative textbook on business ethics, is in fact indicative of an Aristotelian virtue-ethics form of moral reasoning. Consequently, while the lessons taught to the student of business ethics today are correct, the textbooks authors are in need of rethinking their conclusions.

Justin M. Anderson, "An Unmanageble Rationale: How Business Ethics Textbooks Unwittingly Recommend a Virtue Ethic Acount of Moral Reasoning," Journal of Markets and Morality 17, no.1 (Spring 2014): 85-103.

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