Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 263-273

First online:

Religion and Business Ethics: The Lessons from Political Morality

  • Timothy L. FortAffiliated withMichigan Business School

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The issue of whether religious belief should be an appropriate grounding for business ethics raises issues very similar to those raised in asking whether religious belief should be an appropriate grounding for political morality. In light of that fact that writings in political morality have been a common resource for contemporary business ethics, this paper presents contemporary arguments about the role of religion in political morality while noting the relevance of these debates for business ethics.

The paper takes the position that rather than excluding religion from public morality, political morality (and business ethics) ought to take an inclusive, ecumenical approach. To argue this position and to present fully a range of literature normally not studied in business ethics circles, the paper presents and critiques the major contemporary authors in the field of political morality and contrasts them with the inclusionists who seek to keep public grounds open for all moral perspectives.