Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 227–232

Business ethics, ideology, and the naturalistic fallacy

  • Kenneth E. Goodpaster

DOI: 10.1007/BF00381763

Cite this article as:
Goodpaster, K.E. J Bus Ethics (1985) 4: 227. doi:10.1007/BF00381763


This paper addresses the relationship between theoretical and applied ethics. It directs philosophical attention toward the concept of ‘ideology’, conceived as a bridge between high-level principles and decision-making practice. How are we to understand this bridge and how can we avoid the naturalistic fallacy while taking ideology seriously?

It is then suggested that the challenge posed by ideology in the arena of organizational ethics is in many ways similar to the challenge posed by developmentalist accounts of moral ‘stages’ in the arena of individual ethics, namely, how to account for the normative force of frameworks that are theoretically derivative yet practically essential.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth E. Goodpaster
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of MathematicsUniversity of Notre DameUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of PhilosophyUniversity of MichiganUSA