A COMMENTARY ON Alasdair MacIntyre (2015), “The Irrelevance of Ethics,” in A. Bielskis and K. Knight (eds.), Virtue and Economy: Essays on Morality and Markets (London: Routledge):7–21. doi:10.4324/9781315548067
Alasdair MacIntyre argues that moral virtues are antithetical to what is required of those who trade in financial markets to succeed. MacIntyre focuses on four virtues and argues that successful traders possess none of them: (i) self-knowledge, (ii) courage, (iii) taking a long-term perspective, and (iv) tying one’s own good with some set of common goods. By contrast, I argue that (i)–(iii) are, in fact, traits of successful traders, regardless of their normative assessment. The last trait – caring about the common good – is often counterproductive in most for-profit ventures, including trading, and so singling out traders is inappropriate.
To download the full PDF, click here: Hersch on MacIntyre
Gil Hersch is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy Department and the Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Virginia Tech.
“Corporations and Voting: A Response to Kenneth Silver” by John Hasnas
A RESPONSE TO Kenneth Silver (2018), “Do I Think Corporations Should Be Able to Vote Now?” Bus Ethics J Rev 6(4): 18–23. doi.org/10.12747/bejr2018.06.04
Abstract: In his thoughtful Commentary on my article, “Should Corporations Have the Right to Vote? A Paradox in the Theory of Corporate Moral Agency,” Kenneth Silver asserts mistakenly that I endorse (i) Robert Dahl’s Principle of Affected Interests and (ii) social contract theory. To the extent Silver’s criticism of my argument is based on the claim that I appeal to either the Principle of Affected Interests or social contract theory as the ground for the right to vote, it is misguided. I rely only on the Rawlsian equal participation principle that invests those subject to the law with the right to vote. To the extent Silver’s criticism is directed to that assertion, it is on point.
To download the full PDF, click here: Hasnas responds to Silver.
John Hasnas is a Professor at the McDonough School of Business.
A COMMENTARY ON Jacob Sparks (2017), “Can’t Buy Me Love: A Reply to Brennan and Jaworski.” J Philos Res 42: 341–352, https://doi.org/10.5840/jpr2017425101
Jacob Sparks critiques our recent work on commodification by arguing that purchasing love indicates one has defective preferences. We argue A) it is possible to purchase these things without having defective preferences, B) Sparks has not shown that acting such defective preferences is morally wrong, C) that Sparks’ misunderstands the Brennan-Jaworski Thesis, and so has not produced a counterexample to it, and finally D) that when we examine the processes by which gifted love, it is unclear whether these processes should be preferred.
To download the full PDF, click here: Brennan and Jaworski on Sparks on Commodification
Jason Brennan and Peter M. Jaworski is Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Peter Jaworski is an Assistant Teaching Professor teaching business ethics at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
A COMMENTARY ON D. R Comer and M. Schwartz (2015), “Highlighting Moral Courage in the Business Ethics Course,” J Bus Ethics 146(3): 703–723, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2919-3
Comer and Schwartz (2015) argue that the business ethics course should aim to cultivate moral courage within our students. Essential to their argument is the use of fictional exemplars of moral courage to motivate our students. I argue that the classroom, even when supplemented by good fiction, is not the right context by which to practice moral courage—the habituation of moral courage requires a context of risk. I suggest a virtue that can be practiced in the classroom—intellectual courage. By aiming at this virtue, we will also get the virtue of moral courage.
To download the full PDF, click here: Peterson on Comer and Schwartz
Eric Peterson is Visiting Assistant Professor of Business Ethics and Society at the Heider College of Business, Creighton University. His research interests include imagination, philosophy of religion, and ethics. He is currently serving as the 2018/2019 philosophy program chair for the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and he serves as the managing editor for The Junkyard: a blog devoted to the study of imagination.
A COMMENTARY ON John Hasnas (2016), “Should Corporations Have the Right to Vote? A Paradox in the Theory of Corporate Moral Agency”, J Bus Ethics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3172-0
Many proponents of corporate agency take corporations to be responsible for their conduct, but few take them to merit rights over and above the rights of their members. Hasnas (2016) argues that, given a widely-held view of liberal political theory, corporate agency entails that corporations should have the right to vote. In response, I show that there are problems in appealing to liberal political theory, and that the view of voting Hasnas actually endorses need not be accepted. Should it be, however, the implications go far beyond the right to vote.
To download the full PDF, click here: Silver on Hasnas
Kenneth Silver is Postdoctoral Scholar & Teaching Fellow at the University of Southern California.
“Rawls Well That Ends Well: A Response to Welch And Ly” by Abraham Singer
A RESPONSE TO Theodora Welch and Minh Ly (2017), “Rawls on the Justice of Corporate Governance,” Bus Ethics J Rev 5(2): 7–14. doi.org/10.12747/bejr2017.05.08
Abstract: Welch and Ly register three objections to my argument that the Rawlsian paradigm offers no resources for formulating a normative theory of corporate governance. In this brief response, I note that while I agree with the first of these objection, I don’t think it poses any serious trouble to my argument; the other two objections, on the other hand, I am less convinced by. I then offer two alternative strategies for bringing Rawls to bear on business ethics, which don’t involve trying to apply his principles of justice to the corporation. Finally, I conclude with a reflection on why people are so insistent on talking about Rawls in the first place.
To download the full PDF, click here: Singer Responds to Welch And Ly
Abraham Singer is an Assistant Professor of Management at Loyola University Chicago.
“Can’t Buy Approval: A Response to Taylor” by Jacob Sparks
A RESPONSE TO James Stacey Taylor (2017), “Semiotic Arguments and Markets in Votes: A Comment on Sparks,” Bus Ethics J Rev 5(6): 35–39
Abstract: James Stacey Taylor claims that my argument in “Can’t Buy Me Love” is both incomplete and doomed to fail. I grant some of Taylor’s points, but remind him that semiotic objections to the commodification of certain goods are strongest when we think not about individual market transactions, but about what it means for a society to support the market in question.
To download the full PDF, click here: Sparks Responds to Taylor
Jacob Sparks recently completed his PhD in applied philosophy at Bowling Green State University. He currently teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.