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Language, Self, and Business Ethics

Raymond N. MacKenzie


Contemporary discussions of business ethics rarely address the topic of language and its importance in ethics. The Christian tradition of Augustine and Aquinas argues for an intimate link between language and the self, between what we say and who we are. But in the modern world, we find a deep divide between language and self, a divide that manifests itself in much business discourseespecially in phenomena like spin and the use of language as a means of controlling others. This divide itself is not new, but it is the result of large social forces going back for centuries. Recovering the Augustinian and Thomistic tradition can show us a way to close the divide, by reminding us of how central language is to the sort of people we are.

Raymond N. MacKenzie, "Language, Self, and Business Ethics," Journal of Markets & Morality 3, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 22-42

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