Moral Competence

  • Henk van Luijk†
  • Wim Dubbink
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 28)


In our modern, complex society an ever stronger appeal is made upon each person to make proper moral judgments and act on them; this also goes in commercial life. Viewed positively, this is caused by the emancipation of the citizen and the individual. Viewed negatively, it is a consequence of the growing individualization of modern society. This growing appeal demonstrates the practical moral relevance of analyzing cases. Analyzing cases can help to strengthen a person’s capacity to reflect on moral issues. Moral reflection relates to the ability to recognise a moral issue when it arises in practice and then to deal with it in a deliberate and articulate manner. Still, moral reflection is not all that counts in real life – it may not even be the most important thing. A moral person also needs moral competence. A morally competent person takes her conclusions seriously, makes them part of her mental and moral life. It shifts attention from cognition to willing and acting. Moral competence presupposes self-reflection and self-control. The degree to which a person will need her moral faculties in the course of her life is partly a matter of luck. However, a person, unlucky enough, having to make tough calls in her life, cannot argue that she ought to be excused for her moral failings because of her lack of luck.


Moral Judgment Inner Core Virtue Ethicist Moral Issue Moral Psychologist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Faculty of HumanitiesTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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