Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 21–28 | Cite as

After virtue, taking rights seriously

  • Michael McDonald


In this paper, I address the question, “Who are the political and ideological opponents of liberalism?” I suggest that Dworkin's way of dividing liberals from their conservative opponents over the issue of pluralism fails to get at the main issue of redistribution. But arguments for and against redistribution share a common pluralistic conception of politics and morals, viz., that they are to be conceived in terms of an agreement amongst autonomous individuals who are each trying to maximize their own welfares.

I argue that this ignores our relations with the non-autonomous and is parasitic on a wider and more generous notion of the political and moral community. I suggest that such a community must form a focus of its members' loyalties and an end (telos) for human virtues. I then draw some lessons for business ethics, arguing that it is an essentially specialized enterprise which ought not to used to model moral and political relations in general.


Economic Growth Business Ethic Main Issue Generous Notion Autonomous Individual 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael McDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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