, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 43-50

Alasdair Macintyre’s Aristotelian Business Ethics: A Critique

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Abstract

This paper begins by summarizing and distilling MacIntyre’s sweeping critique of modern business. It identifies the crux of MacIntyre’s critique as centering on the fundamental Aristotelian concepts of internal goods and practices. MacIntyre essentially follows Aristotle in arguing that by privileging external goods over internal goods, business activity – and certainly modern capitalistic business activity – corrupts practices. Thus, from the perspective of virtue ethics, business is morally indefensible. The paper continues with an evaluation of MacIntyre’s arguments. The conclusion is drawn that MacIntyre’s critique, although partially valid, does not vitiate modern business as he claims. In short, modern business need not of necessity be antithetical to individuals’ pursuit of internal goods within practices.