Skip to main content

Thomas Aquinas on Business and the Fulfillment of Human Needs

  • Chapter
  • 974 Accesses

Part of the Humanism in Business Series book series (HUBUS)

Abstract

In the history of Western thought, Thomas Aquinas is certainly the most influential medieval thinker. His stance on moral questions generally and his views on socio-economic justice in particular provided normative orientation to subsequent Christian thinkers, and they still influence Catholic social teaching, as exemplified in the social encyclicals of the Church. For instance, the latest papal letter, Caritas in Veritate, which addresses the moral challenges to business in the age of globalization, draws heavily upon the moral arguments of Thomas Aquinas. In this chapter, we wish to make Thomas’s stance on the ethics of business intelligible to a readership neither steeped in medieval studies, nor familiar with specifically Christian views on morality

Keywords

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Business Ethic
  • Corporate Governance
  • Catholic Social Teaching
  • Money Lending

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230314139_5
  • Chapter length: 16 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-0-230-31413-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   120.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   125.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  • Bourke, V. J., Foundations of Justice. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: 36 (1962) 19–28.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Brown, O. J., Natural Rectitude and Divine Law in Aquinas, (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1981).

    Google Scholar 

  • Carl, M., “Law, Virtue, and Happiness in Aquinas’s Moral Theory”. The Thomist 61(3) (1997) 425–447.

    Google Scholar 

  • Celano, A., Phronesis, Prudence and Moral Goodness in the Thirteenth Century Commentaries on the Nicomachean Ethics, Mediaevalia Philosophica Polonorum. 36 (2007) 5–27.

    Google Scholar 

  • Celano, A., “The Concept of Worldly Beatitude in the Writings of Thomas Aquinas”. Journal of the History of Philosophy 25 (1987) 215–226; reprinted in Great Political Thinkers, edd. J. Dunn & I. Harris, v. VII. (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 1994).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cortright, S. A. and N. Michael, Rethinking the Purpose of Business: Interdisciplinary Essays from the Catholic Social Tradition, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002).

    Google Scholar 

  • Crowe, M., The Changing Profile of the Natural Law, (The Hague: Nijhoff Publishers, 1977).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Dierksmeier, C. and Pirson, M., “Oikonomia versus Chrematistike. Aristotle on Wealth and Well-Being”, Journal of Business Ethics, 88(3) (2009) 417–430.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Epstein, Steven A., An Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000– 1500, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

    Google Scholar 

  • Finnis, John, “Aquinas’ Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (Ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/aquinas-moral-political/>.

    Google Scholar 

  • Henle, R. J., “A Catholic View of Human Rights: A Thomistic Reflection”. In A. S. Rosenbaum (ed.), The Philosophy of Human Rights. (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 1980), 87–94.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jordan, M. (1994), “The Pars moralis of the Summa theologiae as Scientia and as Ars.” In Scientia und ars in Hoch- und Spätmittelalter, ed. Ingrid Craemer- Ruegenberg and Andreas Speer, pp. 468–481. Miscellanea Mediaevalia 22. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keys, M. M., “Aquinas’s Two Pedagogies: A Reconsideration of the Relation between Law and Moral Virtue”. American Journal of Political Science. 45(3) (2001) 519–531.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Koehn, D., “A Role for Virtue Ethics in the Analysis of Business Practice”, Business Ethics Quarterly, 5(3) (1995) 533–539.Maritain, J., The Person and the Common Good. (New York, NY: University of Notre Dame Press, 1947).

    Google Scholar 

  • Melé, D., “Integrating Personalism Into Virtue-Based Business Ethics: The Personalist and the Common Good Principles”, Journal of Business Ethics (2009a) 88: 227–244.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Melé, D., Business Ethics in Action: Seeking Human Excellence in Organizations. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009b).

    Google Scholar 

  • Peterson, J., “The Interdependence of Intellectual and Moral Virtue in Aquinas”. The Thomist. 61(3) (1997) 449–454.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ross, J. F., “Justice Is Reasonableness: Aquinas on Human Law and Morality”. The Monist. 58 (1) (1974) 86–103.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ryan, J., “The Economic Philosophy of St. Thomas”. In R. E. Brennan (ed.), Essays in Thomism. (New York, NY: Sheed and Ward, 1942), 239–260.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schumacher, L., The Philosophy of the Equitable Distribution of Wealth. A Study in Economic Philosophy, (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1949).

    Google Scholar 

  • Sison, A. G., The Moral Capital of Leaders: Why Virtue Matters, (Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2003).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sison, A. G., Corporate Governance and Ethics: An Aristotelian Perspective, (Cheltenham, U.K., Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2008).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Solomon, C.R., The New Word of Business: Ethics and Free Enterprise in the Global 1990s. (Lanham: Roman & Littjefield, 1994).

    Google Scholar 

  • Stammkötter, F.-B., “Die Entwicklung der Bestimmung der Prudentia in der Ethik des Albertus Magnus”. In W. Senner (Ed.), Albertus Magnus zum Gedenken nach 800 Jahren: Neue Zugänge, Aspekte und Perspektiven, (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2001).

    Google Scholar 

  • Stammkötter, F.-B., “Die Entwicklung der Bestimmung der Prudentia in der Ethik des Albertus Magnus”. In W. Senner (Ed.), Albertus Magnus zum Gedenken

    Google Scholar 

  • Stump, E. S., “Aquinas on Justice”. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly. Supplement 71 (1997) 61–78

    Google Scholar 

  • Twomey, G. S.,. The “preferential option for the poor” in Catholic social thought from John XXIII to John Paul II, (Lewiston, N.Y., Edwin Mellen Press, 2005).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2011 Claus Dierksmeier and Anthony Celano

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Dierksmeier, C., Celano, A. (2011). Thomas Aquinas on Business and the Fulfillment of Human Needs. In: Dierksmeier, C., Amann, W., von Kimakowitz, E., Spitzeck, H., Pirson, M. (eds) Humanistic Ethics in the Age of Globality. Humanism in Business Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230314139_5

Download citation